Get Out of Jail Free


TODAY ON ONE OF THE major political blogs I frequent was a news item and video clip of Larry King’s current CNN interview of Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner. The clip (which you can find on YouTube but which I’ll not post here) is hard to watch…clearly, Tammy Faye has little time left. As someone who fought my own three-year battle against aggressive cancer sometime back, I have only compassion for her.

Not so, however, some of those who commented on the blog. One reply went as follows:

“What a wonderful ‘get out jail free card.’ Steal, lie and abuse people, then pray for forgiveness and then all is well.”

Back in the heyday of the PTL network, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, it turned out, did indeed defraud their viewers and covered it up. In addition, Jim’s dalliance with his church secretary came to light.

But back to the blog comment. Can we really expect that we can sin—and then get out of jail free simply by sincerely repenting, confessing, and asking for forgiveness?


We have God’s word on it: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” Micah 7:19.

So yes, there isn’t a sin we can commit—there is no full lifetime of sin too long—that God can’t forgive. To non-Christians, this seems like scandal and outrage. People who sin should get what’s coming to them. They should pay. They should suffer. And if Tammy Faye is soon to die of cancer, she’s only reaping the bad karma she’s sown.

But the Good News of the Gospel is foolishness and a stumblingblock to those who continue to live in rebellion. Yet that Good News is certain and straightforward: We do get out of jail free. We don’t have to pay for our sins. The Good News gets even better: The penalty for every sin we have ever committed or ever will was paid 2,000 years before we were even born. It didn’t go unpaid—it’s just that we don’t have to pay it: Someone else did.

Yes—we DO get out of jail free!

The one who posted the blog comment simply doesn’t understand that.


One response to this post.

  1. I have a stack of those cards. But I try not to have reasons to use them.


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