For God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. Romans 11:32 (NLT)
God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience – that really struck me. Another way you could say that is that God has made disobedience a prison for all people. He did this because he loves us and wanted to have mercy on us. He could have set up the universe so that disobedience resulted in – boing! – being flung off into unending space. Or he could have made it so that disobedience resulted in immediate vaporization. Zap. You’re gone.
But instead he made it so that disobedience to God becomes a prison. We have all experienced that prison – addictions, compulsions, obsessions, uncontrollable emotions and urges, those loud voices in our heads building razor-wire-topped walls. Romans 7:24 (NLT) cries out, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?” But what does the next verse answer? “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Way out of our prison is surrender to the one who loves us and died for us that we might be set free (Galatians 3:22). Did you ever feel that way? Like you were imprisoned in sin?
The amazing thing is that God did not fashion our disobedience into a prison to have a “so there!” retribution for our turning away from him, or so that he could have some kind of “see I told you so” triumph over us. But, he did it so he could have mercy! God is love and he longs to love us, he longs to have mercy on us (Isaiah 30:18). Instead of vaporizing us rebels he put us in protective custody. He gathered us into his loving net.
For that Greek word translated “imprisoned” in the above verse is sugkleio. It means to shut up together, embrace in a common subjection, enclose. It is used to describe fish caught in a net, as in Luke 5:6 (NIV).
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Yes! Hallelujah! Instead of flinging us away into annihilation he has embraced us, enclosed us, caught us in his loving net. If right now you feel like you are flopping around, trapped, gasping for breath, surrender to the one who came and died that you might be set free.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish (be lost, ruined, destroyed, abolished) but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:15 (NASB)
Do you want to be set free from your prison? Pray this prayer with me:
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” ∗
∗Prayer from Billy Graham ministries