A guest speaker came to the campus today to tell the story of how he was wrongly-convicted for a crime and sentenced to the death penalty. The man had been in prison for more than eight years before a DNA sample proved he was innocent.

DNA became the key to this man’s freedom. While speaking, he used the word “exonerated.” That really struck me. Each time he said it, I couldn’t help but think of the freedom I have been given.

I’m not talking about the freedom of being an American, though I truly appreciate that. And this isn’t a story about my release from prison. I’m talking about the freedom I’ve been given from an eternity in Hell.

Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb, the Son of God, used His DNA to exonerate me from the penalties of sin. I don’t have to live in the shackles and shame of this world, worried what will happen in my life. I was given a pardon. All of my sins have been payed in full, because He bled His love for me on Calvary. There is nothing between me and Heaven, because Jesus Christ opened the prison gates and set me free.

It’s overwhelming to think about. As a child of this world, I was damned to the lake of fire. As a child of God, I can rest in the assurance that I will one day be praising His name in His presence. All because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The “whosoever” isn’t an exclusive invitation. It’s an inclusive exoneration. I didn’t work for my salvation, it was given to me. The only thing I had to do was accept it. The same is true for you. If this wrongly-convicted man had been offered release from his cell years before it happened, do you think he would have refused? I doubt it.

Why, then, is it so hard for sinners to accept the release from their cells?

It’s difficult to imagine that your life might change. Maybe you’re comfortable in your cell. Perhaps you even consider it home. When you hear about the conversion to a Christian life, you probably think of all of the bad things you have to cut out of your life before taking such a large step. As creatures of habit, making changes is a scary idea and we often put it off.

However, you don’t have to become a new person before you accept the Lord’s pardon. The Lord’s pardon works in your life to allow you to become a new person. Once you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, it becomes much easier to make the best decisions possible.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Because of Jesus’ DNA, He has been convicted. We have been exonerated. All that we have done is payed for in full. That is true for each and every one of us, regardless of our belief. The key is to accept that fact and allow Jesus to open up your cell.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a freed man to stay in prison, does it? Why would anyone choose to end up in the lake of fire when they’re being offered a “Get Out of Hell Free” card?

While the guest speaker was wrongfully-accused, the charges against us are legitimate. How much more incredible does that make our exoneration? We’re being acquitted of charges we deserve to be penalized for.

If you’ve never received your exoneration, it’s not too late.

Don’t sit in a prison cell when freedom is in reach.

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