A pastor friend of mine once wrote a sermon titled, Just Because You’re Breathing, Doesn’t Mean You’re Alive.” In other words, sin yields death, and real life doesn’t happen until people know Jesus.
Scott T. was one of the walking dead. His understanding of sin, like that of many Jewish people, was rooted in the traditional idea that deeds, whether good or bad, determine who is righteous and who is a sinner.
Problems with drugs led to incarceration and Scott realized that he was guilty of sin, because he knew his deeds were evil. At one point he even prayed, in the hope that Jesus would give him strength to overcome his addiction. But he didn’t really understand the condition of his heart, or who Jesus was—and he knew nothing of the resurrection power in Christ. After his second felony incarceration he was released from jail, only to succumb to his old habit.
During his time in a rehabilitation facility Scott met a Christian nurse named Liz. She kept in contact with him when he left the facility, praying with him and encouraging him to seek a real relationship with God. Through her urging, Scott ended up calling our Jews for Jesus office. The first time I met with him, it was simply to discover the nature of his interest. After that he came to a Jews for Jesus Bible study. Then one rainy, windy Thursday evening in December, we met at a local restaurant. We sat in a back booth and discussed the nature of sin. Scott already had an idea that Jesus came to die on the cross for him from having attended a church revival service. But he had never thought of sin as the condition of his heart. He had not understood that the resurrection power of Christ could change that condition and give him a new life—until that night.
Scott realized that he was incapable of overcoming his addiction or his sin by his own strength. He called on Jesus Christ, confessing Him as Lord, and believing in his heart that He had been raised from the grave. Scott chose life in December 1997, and was raised to new life in Christ.
Not all of Scott’s choices have been good since coming to faith. He disappeared for five months in 1998, back into the world of drugs. When he learned that his father was dying, he rededicated his life to the Lord and has been clean ever since. Scott led his father, Jacob, to Christ two days before he died, just this past December. I’ve been in regular contact with Scott and he continues trusting the Lord daily.
I ask your prayers for Scott as he looks for the grace to continue living each day as the new creation the Lord intended.