FILLING THE GAP

Kurt and Joyce Zander our Jail Chaplains
Photo by Tracey Lewis

I received a rare personal phone call at work from the Chaplain of our local jail. He told me both ministers he had lined up to come in backed out on him, and he wanted to know if I would come in and fill the gap. I told him “sure.” I love it when someone asks me to do what I love to do the most.

After talking with the Chaplain of course I started thinking about what I could share with the guys in jail; then it came to me like a flash! I know I’ll tell them about Jesus Christ and what the cross is all about. Now that’s a wonderful idea isn’t it? So that’s what I did.

Around six o’clock there were about 20 guys sitting in rows in what is known as the vending room of the jail. The first thing I noticed was every one of the guys in the front row had their Bibles in their lap. This is a good sign because there are some nights when very few of them even have a Bible with them at all. So right away I told them to turn to Romans five.

As they were locating Romans five I started sharing with them about how God created Adam and placed him in the Garden. He told him not to eat of one of the trees and of course he did and immediately died. Well, that’s what God told him wasn’t it? “The day you eat of this Tree you will surely die.” Of course we know he lived on for years and years afterwards so what did God mean? He meant Adam would die spiritually. He would be cut off from God and dead in his spirit. This is what Ephesians 2 tells us isn’t it? “You were dead in trespasses and sins…” All of us were born of Adam and that means spiritually dead.

As we looked at Romans five I read to them “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“ All of us then are born of “the one man” and are born sinners, dead in our spirits and separated from God. I went on to read “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” So we are either joined to Adam in his disobedience or Christ and his obedience. The big question is how do we get out of Adam and into Christ? How can someone that is joined to Adam, dead in sin and separated from God be joined to Christ?

Romans six tells us how God took us and placed us in Christ on the cross. He baptized us into Christ. I shared with the guys that baptism means to be joined or identified to something or someone. The term baptism comes from the ancient practice of dying cloth by dipping it in a dye. For instance if you took a white handkerchief and dipped it in purple dye it would come out a brand new cloth no longer white but forever purple. God placed, or baptized, us in Christ in his death, buried us and raised us a brand new creature in him. This is the method that God used to sever our relationship with Adam and join us to Christ the last Adam. “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…” The cross is the way out of darkness and into God’s glorious light.

When Adam sinned we all sinned. All of us are related to Adam and we were all born dead in our spirits so we needed to be resurrected. This is exactly what happened in our being baptized in Christ. When Christ was raised we were raised. God joined his Holy Spirit to our dead human spirit and we sprang back to life. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus “You must be born again.” We have to have the very life of God in us. “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” It really is as simple as that.

There is no way I could write all of what was said tonight but you get the gist of it. I ended by telling them God doesn’t want to fix up our old self. He doesn’t see that it’s worth fixing so instead he takes us out by crucifixion instead. The old man really is dead and gone; we are a new creature in Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I love it when I get a chance to share the Word of God with someone, so that’s what I did tonight. I know I probably talked too fast for most of them but we know the Holy Spirit is the only real teacher anyway, so I gave them something to get them going and now the Spirit will do what only he can do. I’m just thankful I get to be a part of God’s work and plan for those men’s lives.

Written by Louie

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