"An Inside Perspective"

Christmas 2005

My dear family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ! One of the things that has annoyed me most about being in prison is that we are regularly punished for the crimes of others. I am not speaking in respect to the crime that put me here, that is mine and shamefully, I did it. I am speaking in regard to the crimes that are committed, in prison, by prisoners.

We have laws in the prison and a court system, that we must abide by, just like you have on the outside, in society. We have a prison, within the prison, f or prisoners who break those laws. In society, when you break a law you may get a ticket, or for a more serious offense, you may even be indicted. In prison we get what are called charges.

As a Christian, I endeavor to follow the rules of the institution, thus submitting to the authority God has placed over me. It is written, “. . . the powers that be are ordained of God.” The annoyance arises, when despite my obedience, I am still constantly punished. More so, I am punished for the disobedience of another who has no interest, at all, in obeying the rules! It is very annoying!

For instance, when a particular prisoner tried to smuggle drugs into the prison in his clothing package, they took everyone’s clothing privilege away. He broke the law and I, though obedient to the law, still lost my clothes privilege. It is very annoying!

Again, someone tried to smuggle drugs in through their food package from home, they were caught and we all lost our food privileges. In my mind, the one who commits the crime ought to be the one who is punished, right? It is very annoyingl

Then, someone tried to smuggle in sneakers on a visit and, you guessed it, no more wearing sneakers to visits, for anyone. Most recently, someone made a shank (prison knife) out of a fan part and sure enough they took all our fans. I’m thinking, albeit irrationally, what’s the point of me obeying if you are going to punish me anyway?!? It is very annoying! I know the answer to that of course, I’m just sharing some annoyed heart thoughts. (smile) Last but not least, one rascal hid an illegal cell phone in the back of his AM/FM radio and sure enough they took my radio that I have treasured for the last 12 years. I don’t own a TV by choice, so you know that when they mess with my radio, they are barking up the wrong tree! It is very annoying!

In prison, there is no positive connotation for obedience, only negative. If you are a good prisoner no one else benefits from it. I have tried to obey for fifteen years and yet I have been regularly punished as a rebellious rogue. It is very annoying!

Prisoners therefore have a unique view of the Biblical doctrine of Federalism. Federalism, simply put, is one man representing another man or acting in his stead. When Adam sinned and became a sinner, from God’s perspective, we all therefore became sinners. Adam represented us as our Federal head. It is written, “For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ all are made alive.” By way of illustration, when President Bush declares war on Iraq, like it or not, you are then at war with Iraq. President Bush is your representative head. That is Federalism.

Fortunately for us, the spiritual realm is not like prison. We have the privilege, in Christ, to reap the glorious ramifications of Christ’s perfect obedience. It was for us that He did it, indeed, everything that He did, He did acting in our stead, as our Head. Passively, He bore our transgressions and, actively, His obedience was imputed to us, credited to our account. Therefore, when God looks into your account, He sees the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

The Lord took on flesh and chose to enter the world in an animal feeding trough. He chose to live a life of perfect obedience in a humble family. When He wanted some workers, He went down to the boat docks to get them. He chose liars, thieves and harlots as his companions, thereby, closing the mouths of the proud.

Oh, do you think there are any good people in Heaven? I’m sorry to disappoint you but there are no good people in Heaven—--only saved sinners. In fact, you must be an admitted sinner to even qualify for Heaven! It is written, “...as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.. .They that be whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick.” The real meaning of Christmas is this.---the Just became unjust, that the unjust, might become just. Not very annoying at all, is it? (smile)