Many ask us why we do prison ministry or even, “Do you make them feel guilty for their sins?”
We go in and we show them mercy. Mercy? Yes, we show them mercy and we teach the truth of His word. We show them His Love for we only are able to love Him because He first loved us. We are merely His instruments of grace and mercy. We spread His light and truth. Our purpose is to teach the word of God .
If anyone sees Him we trust it is by the power of the Son, by His mercy, by His grace, by His Light, and from the power of His love. It is not from our own decision, own strength to lift ourselves up out of the pits, or by any other mans ability to pick us up. The Son is the Light that reveals to us our hearts condition. Human words don’t have any power to change any man. His Spirit and Word is powerful to change man. He alone causes man to repent of our stubborn hearts. We do not want any human threats to make one feel guilty for sins. In order for a true transformation and conversion it can only come from His calling and choosing by His Spirit and will. Our ABBA (complete triune God) is the One, and only, who bears the witness to our hearts need. He calls us out of darkness. He allows us to see, understand, and surrender to Him through the hearing and reading of His word. He is the One who saves. The Son shows light, is the Light, and reveals our depravity and great need of a Savior. He is the One who bandages up our wounds and restores us. He alone saves and so we trust Him.
Our purpose, again, is to teach the word, verse by verse, so they are able to examine their own life. We pray that they come to crave His word as a baby craves milk.
May His word, “…penetrate to the very hearts of men’s needs and to draw them into the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson.
“His Word pierces, reveals, germinates, nourishes, shines, consumes, and shatters.” – Steven J. Lawson.
The moment we go into a prison, or anywhere, threatening shame, judgement, and condemnation from our own opinions and from anything other than from the word of God may our God shut the doors.
Here is a small portion (below) from Dr. SInclair B. Ferguson’s message on Luke 10 that may help explain this better;
“…So in heaven when the principle of justice called for your condemnation, when the principle of holiness called for your separation, the Son of mercy came and on his own shoulders bore the principle of justice, dying the just for the unjust to bring us to God and prayed before his Father,
“For their sakes, I separate myself,”
and for mercy’s sake, he bore the judgment of Almighty God. Isn’t there something in that needed in the life of the believer? Not that we can ever bear either the judgment of the justice of God but that we should imitate the principle that lay in the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ and see that the great principles in God’s word, the great standards for which we stand and which we so often have to fight to the death are not meant to be instruments to lessen the cost of sacrificial discipleship nor instruments to separate us from the needs of our fellow men but instruments that God has purposed in his divine economy to be used in order to penetrate to the very hearts of men’s needs and to draw them into the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There was a preacher in Scotland last century and the beginning of this century by the name of Alexander White and he made one among many penetrating statements. He said this, “There is such a thing as sanctification by vinegar that makes a man right and hard as steel,” and when you’re a man traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and you’ve been set upon by thieves and you are lying, drinking the blood of your own need, my dear friends, it’s not a Christian who has been sanctified by vinegar that you need but a merciful Samaritan. And so our Lord Jesus Christ bids us to be merciful.
My friends, there are at least two kinds of men and women who find it perhaps almost alien to show mercy. The one is those of us who are younger and lack experience of life and of our own hearts and we are far more prone to criticize than to show mercy to them…”