Why Are So Many Prisoners Being Saved Today?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Thousands and thousands of prisoners are being saved behind bars? Why? What’s going on?

Slaves of Someone

Thousands upon thousands of prisoners are being saved behind bars? Why? What’s going on? If we are saved, then we are, as the Scriptures say, slaves of Christ. The Greek word “Doulos” occurs almost every time where “servant” is used in the New Testament. If we are not saved, then we are slaves of sin. We cannot be slaves to nothing. We are either Christ’s and slaves of His and are the children of God…or we are under Satan’s sway and slaves to sin and are the children of the Devil. I know that sounds offensive, but that’s what Jesus said, not me. Our Lord “said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Only the truth that is found in Christ and in the Word of God and the Spirit of God can set us free.

The Children of Wrath

The Apostle John tells us how to know whose children people really are, saying, “this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Believers still sin and will never be sinless…but we should sin less over time. What is interesting is that in the prisons, people who are behind bars are being set free, and are more free than those who live outside the prison walls. If Jesus set them free, they are free indeed, but not free to sin. They are free from the penalty of sin and that is death and hell fire. When witnessing to the lost, we must remain humble because “we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph 2:3).

Set Free

The Apostle Paul said “now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Rom 6:22). There it is again…we are slaves, but now we’re not slaves to sin but slaves of Christ. If we had to be set free in the first place, it is assumed that we were once slaves to something, and we were. We were slaves to sin. We are set free through Christ because “the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Rom 6:22). It’s like receiving a pardon from the governor, but this is from the highest and most supreme courts of all, which is in heaven. Through Christ, we are freed from sin’s penalty and the eternal damnation awaiting those who refuse to trust in Christ.

Prison Revival

Why are so many prisoners being set free in prison? Our church elder is in law enforcement and I once joked with him and said, “You arrest them…I set the free,” but in reality, it is Jesus Who sets them free. Why is this happening? First of all, these men and women come in and are broken and crushed; however, God cannot fix what is first not broken. And these men and women prisoners have come to the end of themselves…but what they find is that was God waiting for them all the time. They are humbled by their circumstances, often being alienated and separated from family and friends. They can lose their jobs, their car, their pets, their friends, and sometimes even their family. It’s like losing their whole world to be behind bars, but then they find a much larger family…the church of God. When prisoners are incarcerated and they have nowhere else to turn and no one else to help, they find that they can only turn to God. When they have reached the very bottom, there’s only one way to look, and that is up!

Setting Them Free

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, one of the first things He said was, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). That’s why He came…to set us free. When the church ministers to those behind bars, they are, in reality, ministering to Jesus (Matt 25:37-40). Remember, at one time, we repented and trusted in Christ and were once under the sway of the god of this world, Satan, and we didn’t even know it. It was only when God opened our eyes and our ears that we could see and hear the glorious gospel. Only then did we realize our sinful state and were compelled to humble ourselves before God and confess our sins. Then we turned away from and forsook our sins and old lifestyle (called repentance) and put our trust in Christ. That’s the only way anyone can be saved and be set free (Acts 4:12).


Here is my prayer for you; it is that you have put your trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If not, you are presently in real danger of hell fire. That’s because you’re only one breath, one heartbeat…one accident away from eternity when you can no longer repent. Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2) because tomorrow may not come for you. If Jesus Christ came today, here is what will happen to you (Matt 7:21-23). This is the very reason why I plead with you right now…as you read this, repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. If not, prepare to face God’s judgment after death guaranteed (Heb 9:27) or at Jesus Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), either of which could happen at the blink of an eye.

Here is some related reading for you: How to Start a Prison Ministry

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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