Imprisoned but Free

Gayle Crowe of World Christian Radio once wrote about a man who found a ministry in prison:

In the early 1990’s, Dinh Trung, a Vietnamese Christian, was thrown into jail for telling others about Jesus. While his wife and small children waited for him at home, thousands of Christians around the world wrote letters to Dinh Trung, supporting and encouraging him after they learned of his plight from Voice of the Martyrs.

While others were writing and praying, what was Dinh Trung doing? [He was] preaching to his cellmates in the Quang Ngai prison. Over the years many prisoners were brought to Christ. (“After all,” as the December 2006 VOM newsletter reminds its readers, “he had a captive audience.”)

Recently prison officials – concerned about the number of prisoners who had become Christians – came to Dinh Trung to offer to let him go home months early. He stunned the officials by replying, “I demand my right to complete my prison sentence.” He was alarmed that his teaching opportunity was about to be taken away. Realizing they had no other recourse, prison officials allowed him to stay.

His wife’s response was, “I am happy that God has given my husband a ministry.” *

Why would a man choose to stay in prison when he could be set free?

For Dinh Trung, the answer is that he had the opportunity in prison to tell others about freedom in Christ!

It was the same for the Apostle Paul. From prison, he wrote to some concerned Christians: “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear… Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:12-14, 18).

Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you FREE” (John 8:32).

The Truth is: "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, all have become enslaved and condemned by it (Romans 6:23).

The Truth is: “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Through Christ, we are freed from sin’s guilt, its power, and its condemnation! “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Truth is: Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. He paid the price for our redemption so that we might have salvation and receive the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7).

The Truth is: God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4). Then, as we continue to walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).

Although they were in prison, the Apostle Paul and Dinh Trung shared the Good News (the Gospel) of freedom in Christ! In Christ, we are free indeed!

Won’t YOU accept the offer of freedom from sin through your trusting obedience to Christ?

David A. Sargent

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