• Today's Daily Devotion
Freedom in Christ
MINE WAS a rough beat with many calls, plagued with drugs and violence of all kinds. Still, I often talked with teens who were hanging out after curfew, probing their lives ...

FREEDOM IN CHRIST

Officer Mark Belknap

Atlanta, GA, Police Department

MINE WAS a rough beat with many calls, plagued with drugs and violence of all kinds. Still, I often talked with teens who were hanging out after curfew, probing their lives, and sending them home before trouble found them.

“Banks” and his friends were responsible for many area burglaries and thefts, but usually evaded capture. Their greed got them in trouble when they stole from a violent drug dealer. To get even, the drug dealer and his crew did a forced invasion at Banks’s home. They held assault rifles on his mother and siblings until Banks gave back what money was left. When I responded, it was plain he saw the danger he had brought on himself and his family.

Banks was later caught and charged, as were those responsible for the home invasion. At the drug dealer’s trial, I saw Banks for the first time since his arrest. We talked outside the courtroom, and he joyfully thanked me for the encouragement I make part of my enforcement responsibilities. He was studying the Bible with a group of inmates, and learning about Jesus. He said he believed what he heard, but had not yet accepted Jesus as his Savior. He asked, “How do I do that?”

I was overjoyed he was so close to freedom in Christ and said, “If you believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins, all you have to do is pray and ask him to come into your life as your Savior. Then you will be forgiven!” We walked to a hallway outside the courtroom, got down on our knees, and prayed. It was a short prayer, but long enough for him to receive his salvation then and there. I was overcome by the Holy Spirit at seeing the Lord save a man many would have thought “unsavable.”

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We stood up; I grabbed him in a bear hug, then walked back into the waiting area. Attorneys, other civilians, and officers were staring at us. What an odd scene we must have made: one man in full police uniform and the other in shackles and an orange prison jumpsuit, bowing in prayer before embracing and walking together with huge smiles on our faces! Banks did not receive, nor did he desire, forgiveness from man for his crimes. But he did receive what we all need—forgiveness from God for our sins. At the final judgment it will be a privilege to stand with Banks as God announces his final verdict: “Not guilty!”


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