In the sixteenth chapter of Acts we have two examples of Christ initiating salvation, which is the very thing He said He came to do (i.e., “to save sinners”; 1 Tim. 1:15). In the case of Lydia we read: “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized…” (Acts 16:14-15). A few verses later we read the story of how God miraculously opened the prison doors at Philippi, which led to the drama of the conversion of the jailer and his household. “Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (Acts 16:29-34). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and killed by the Nazis for his role in rescuing Jews during WWII said: “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes... and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”
Pastor Randy Booth, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Nacogdoches, TX
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ―Romans 6:17-23
O Lord, we too were imprisoned in our sins, and by Your truth, You set us free. We were redeemed by Your blood; bought with a price. Therefore, we acknowledge that we are not our own but now belong to You. Thank You for coming to rescue us, to shake the earth and open the prison doors; to do what we could not do for ourselves. Amen
Seek out someone who is shut in or alone. Go visit them or take them out for a ride or walk, remembering that Christ came to you when you were alone and in need, and He set you free.