(By: Michael Corrion)

I have some very good news that I want to share with the world. Though I am writing this inside prison walls (2009), I am liberated to now please God in a whole new way! Let me briefly share how this has happened.

I was brought up in a Christian family and raised going to a Lutheran church. I was taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, and spent some of my childhood going to a Lutheran school, from fifth to eighth grades. I had a good understanding of the Christian life, except for one part: Eternal salvation (forgiveness of sins and attaining acceptable righteousness) does not come by trying to obey God's laws. It comes by believing God's Truth. It comes by believing the Truth of what God accomplished for us on the Cross through the voluntary cruel death, burial and subsequent resurrection of Himself. More about this further on ...

By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul says, in Romans 3:10-12 (NKJV), 'There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.' The Bible also says, 'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23) But I thought for a long time that as long as I was as careful as possible to follow the laws of God, I would earn my way to heaven, and God would help me with the rest through His forgiveness and mercy.

Please allow me to emphasize again to help reinforce this crucially important truth: We cannot earn our way to receive eternal Salvation. We believe for it. We believe the full message of the Cross. What is the simplest way I know how to communicate that message? God took the punishment we each deserve because the cost of paying for our sins is TOO HIGH - TOO COSTLY. Eternity in hell can never pay the cost, though people who reject the message of the Cross will have no choice but to be forced to pay a small portion of that cost.

I continued to live to the best of my ability by the Old Covenant Law with some New Covenant commandments mixed in for extra good measure. Doing so made me condemned already. The Bible says, 'For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; where there is no law there is no transgression.' (Romans 4:14-15).

From the above scripture ... faith is made void in WHAT? Faith (believing) that Jesus Christ paid my sin-debt and your sin-debt in FULL against a all-holy and all-righteous God -- none other than the Supreme Judge, let us remind ourselves.

I was first introduced into sexual intimacy at the age of nine, with another male my same age. Not understanding that it was wrong at the time, and going off of my own experiences as I grew older, I inappropriately fondled a nine year old boy when I was age 17. I thought that I was showing him love. Four years later I would find myself in jail (2004) because of that.

In May of 2001, I was invited to a youth group at Bay Valley Christian Church, a non-denominational church out of Bay City, Michigan. I went there and had some fun in their various entertainment sections for an hour (private 'skate park,' video games, basketball, etc.) Afterwards, we all gathered up in the group's chapel area for a service.

During the service, we sang praises to God in songs I had heard for the first time. It was awesome. I had never in my life heard or felt such feelings, spiritual uplifting, or closeness to God as what was given to God in these songs. The Holy Spirit moved in me and filled me like never before. During the service my eyes were opened into the understanding of what scripture meant when it said, '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) It means I don't need to follow the Law to be saved from punishment for my sins. Jesus took my punishment for my sins, by dying on the cross ... in MY place! In YOUR place! He took God the Father's wrath for MY and YOUR sins so that we would not spend eternity in hell being punished for them. That is an act of love and mercy and forgiveness beyond mere human COMPREHENSION!

2 Corinthians 5:21 says: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.' As I began to pray and meditate deeply on what this scripture is truly saying ... the Holy Spirit began to give me illumination of ALL that it means. Not only did Jesus Christ the Word (See: The first Chapter of the Book of John) ... who IS one of the three persons of the eternal Godhead ... die on the Cross for my sins and your sins -- He literally BECAME sin so that you and I could/can receive His righteousness -- GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS -- GOD'S HOLINESS!

What this means is that the moment I truly accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior ... in God's eyes, I'm instantly as righteous and holy as I can possibly be, but only because of now being IN CHRIST. In Christ, 2 Cor. 5:21 means God imputed (exchanged) to me His pure, holy righteousness, and in exchange, took my unholy sin - my unholy unrighteousness.

And BECAUSE this is the Truth of the matter for everyone who makes Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior ... God wants them to realize there is no possible way to try to EARN any degree of righteousness or holiness that God finds acceptable enough that will grant a Christian the right to be in heaven with God for eternity -- totally and completely forgiven not only for their sins while they lived upon Earth -- but fully qualified to be in the presence of the One and only most holy God for eternity ... who cannot and will not allow sin to be in His presence. Only sinless creations (people and angels) are allowed to be in His presence for eternity.

Without wearing the royal robe of Christ's righteousness that God the Father gives followers of Jesus Christ, the only thing we are left with is wearing our own robe of filthy sin-saturated rags. That sin-saturated robe won't and never will be pleasing enough to God, which is WHY it gets replaced with GOD'S glorious robe of pure, holy righteousness...but again... for ONLY those who are IN CHRIST JESUS. That starts by making Jesus Christ one's Lord and Savior.

Saying it another way - trying to EARN our way to be saved from our sins is totally impossible, (a salvation of WORKS, in other words), because God states it is. Trying to OBEY God's Old Covenant commandments (obey the Law of Moses, in other words, or the 10 Commandments) NEVER saved anyone either in Old Testament times nor in the New Testament times from their sins. In the Old Testament times, it was the shedding of blood of animals by the Priests that covered the people's sins for a season, but it never made one person immediately fully and completely righteous nor holy in the sight of God. It was an acceptable step of obedience to God at the time that held back God's wrath against them for their sins, but it was only a temporary means until the Messiah was given humanity by the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Once the Messiah died on the cross, was buried and then resurrected from the grave and ascended back into glory from where He came ... the New Covenant was officially implemented by God on humanities, behalf to deal with their sins and inability to obtain a righteousness acceptable enough to God to be in His presence for eternity.

So when the Word of God came upon the scene in the New Testament; when the Word of God came down from heaven from glory sent by The Father, and was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, the Son of God was birthed. The Son of God and the Son of Man (Fully God, yet fully man) then lived 33 years on this planet, and never sinned one time. Had He sinned just one time, He would not have qualified to be the Supreme ransom sin offering for humanity. And because He walked in perfect sinlessness (obedience) in the sight of God the Father his entire life here on Earth -- right up until yielding up His spirit to the Father when He died, the shedding of HIS innocent blood (the innocent blood of God; let's not forget) on the Cross now began officially the New Covenant between God and mankind.

The implementing of this New Covenant by God with mankind meant that being made righteous and holy enough to having one's sin-debt paid could NOW be attained - and ONLY attained - by BELIEVING for it, rather than trying to "work" for it, or try to "earn" it or "be good enough" to deserve it, or become "religious enough" by keeping God's rules and/or man's "religious rules" that leaders of "religious institutions" tell you you must obey, otherwise you'll never attain God's maximized favor and blessing through eternity, and maybe not even be saved when all is said and done. (If you want a GREAT peak at what "religious thinking" will end up doing to you, read the entire book of Galatians. "Religious thinking" of trying to "obey rules to earn one's righteousness to get you saved from your sins" will take you straight to hell if you allow Satan to keep you deluded with it!)

Literally, to the demonically spiritually deluded human mind, it is MIND BOGGLING to think that a person can be fully acceptable to God by simply BELIEVING that: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21) Yet it is either fully true, or not true. God gives us the choice to believe it, or not believe it. As God's Spirit began to work in me ... He nudged me to begin BELIEVING IT!

Thus I'm saved from my sins by BELIEVING - by TRUSTING (actually my sins are blotted OUT as quickly as I confess them to God and receive His forgiveness) ... and the evidence of my love and appreciation for what God accomplished for me by dying on the Cross in my place and imparting to me HIS righteousness - HIS unblemished and pure holiness ... is my desire to OBEY His commands more purely out of LOVE and APPRECIATION for what God has done for me, rather than continue down the path of vain, self-gratifying, deceptive, spiritually prideful, self-righteous glory.

(Please allow me to insert an important note here before going further: God is full of mercy; grace; forgiveness. Yet a Christian who has no fear of disobeying God's New Testament commands (most likely because of a hardened heart toward their sins, and/or committing the same sin over and over and giving up on working with God to get victory over it) is greatly out of balance in understanding about God and the potential sobering consequences of their sin (and in danger of God's severe chastisement). A wise and balanced Christian realizes there is forgiveness for sin, but also realizes that continuing in sin and riding solely on 1 John 1:9 indefinitely in their mind can bring potentially dire consequences that God would rather not have to administer, though as a very wise and truly caring Father He will, for OUR ultimate good.

Sinning by breaking the law can get you sent to prison, and I'm living PROOF! God forgave me for my act of sin when I asked Him to, but still has made me pay some of the consequences of my sinful action(s) to ultimately teach me that sin has consequences, one way or the other. Those of us in prison who clearly broke the law, either knowingly or unknowingly due to our ignorance of the law, may feel like we are receiving unfair punishment, but compared to those who will spend eternity in hell believing they are being unfairly unpunished, and have no say in the matter -- at least to anyone who can do anything about it -- there is NO COMPARISON!

Prisons are packed with inmates who feel they are being punished unfairly, and truly many may be, ... but wait until the Judgment Day if they don't have Jesus Christ representing them as their "lawyer!" [TIP here: You can't afford to pay Jesus' lawyer fees, by the way. They are too expensive. That's why He willingly will represent you for FREE, but you have to hire Him immediately. Once you die, it'll be too late. Tomorrow, in fact, may be too late, for YOU.]

We must always remember as Christians that there is forgiveness for sins when we sin ... but that's just the BEGINNING of the matter. What we tend to forget is that God is HUGE into repentance. Repentance doesn't just mean, "God - I'm sorry for sinning against you. Please forgive me," and end it there. Repentance means to be sorry that we sinned against a all holy-God, a all wrathful Judge, and God desires that we get ruthless with sin in our lives, (focusing on habitual sins in particular) and work with Him diligently to STOP sinning, instead of constantly staying on the "spiritual 1 John 1:9 merry-go-round" of constantly giving into sin over and over and riding on God's grace and mercy).

In practicality, am I perfect in obeying His New Covenant commands indefinitely, from here on out? Absolutely not! But neither is any OTHER Christian on this planet. Yet even if it were possible for me to never sin in this life again, or any other Christian to never sin ... I NOW realize that STILL would never grant me the right to have "earned" my right to receive God's righteousness - God's holiness. Only one thing - one ULTIMATE, PERFECT SACRIFICE - grants any Christian the right to receive God's imputed righteousness - God's holiness. What IS that "thing"? Trusting for it. Believing for it. Believing WHAT?, you might ask. Believing that 2 Corinthians 5:21 means exactly what it SAYS:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Allow me to give some clarity to this above amazing scriptural Truth: For God the Father Made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteous of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ the Word ... or as the long promised coming Messiah to the Jewish people of the Old Covenant that would fully liberate them for the eternal consequences of their sins, if that works better for some.

Every wise Bible student has learned to use scripture to help explain and understand and correctly apply scripture; to let the Word explain and give full expansion to the word; let two scriptures minimum be correctly applied before forming any iron-clad, solid spiritual belief. So please allow me to provide another scripture that fully supports 2 Cor. 5:21:

But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (Philippians 3:8-9 NKJV)


Now back to my testimony. After the songs and message, the youth pastor gave an altar call for any giving their lives to Christ for the first time, and for those who wanted to re-commit their lives. That night in May of 2001, I accepted wholeheartedly the forgiveness God offered me through the innocent, shed blood of His Son and confessed Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life.

For the next six months of my life, I enjoyed an intimate walk with God. My first love with Christ was awesome and powerful; better than any 'high' that the world or drugs could ever offer. I came to know God to be the Father to the fatherless (See: Psalm 68:5), for I never had a strong, loving father figure in my life. God the Father personally showed me that He loves me more than I could ever imagine.

Exciting feelings of my 'first love' with God came to an abrupt end, however. In October of the same year, our youth pastor left the church I attended to lead another youth group in another state; and a young lady that I had become fond of left to join the mission field. I felt abandoned. The ones who God used to help build my faith were leaving for new callings from God. So I grieved the Spirit within me, and I quenched the fire of the Spirit through the way I treated myself. I gave into temptation, and for the first time in my life I turned to drugs and alcohol. Through the habitual use of drugs and alcohol, my resistance to further temptations weakened (as always happens in one way or another).

This continued for several years, though I never forgot my Lord nor denied Him or His love for me.

Then in 2003, my first felony came out into the open. I went and turned myself in. I repented, but continued in the old ways. I realized, however, that I had a problem with alcohol usage, especially around peers. I stopped drinking excessively and dropped my old 'friends' that were leading me toward self-destruction.

The time awaiting the court processing was troubling for me. I knew a depression like none other. Unchecked, it consumed my life. I abused myself. I thought I was loving and caring toward my girlfriend, but I used her for my own selfish desires. In the lowest part of my addiction, I recommitted -- I again touched a young boy in a way that I never should have. I distressed that now I did such a thing as what happened to me to two innocent young people.

I spent ten months locked up in the county jail, and then got out. I was then starting to put my life back together when the second case came up. I wanted to die. I had disappointed myself and my family again. I was returned to jail and awaited sentencing. I was sentenced to five years in prison.

For the first three years of my sentence, I fell away from God. I was angry at myself and unforgiving toward myself. I gave into many temptations in prison. I walked dangerously close to apostasy and continued to do what I wanted to do.

In November of 2008, I was moved to a new living quarters. This removed me from many dangerous situations that I had put myself in. I then returned to God and confessed my sins. I again accepted His forgiveness. I started going back to church and praising and worshiping my Lord for the things that He did for me and the situations He brought me out of. I have been filled with the Holy Spirit since, ever rejoicing in the loving kindness He has for me.

Through all these experiences, He has showed me not to depend on myself for anything good. I in my flesh, that is, am incapable of doing anything good (See: Romans 7:15-25). Every intent of man, myself included, is evil (self-serving in various degrees; See: Genesis 5:5-6). Any good that I do of myself, that is, apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, ends up being a selfish and futile attempt to greater glorify myself. If I try by myself to do good or to be righteous, I fail every time. I end up falling into a muddy, miry pit. (I'm growing to learn that is what God desires for every person ... to come to the place where we realize how dependent we truly are on God - for EVERYTHING that is pleasing to Him).

But thanks be to God! He tells us, 'I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps' (Psalm 40:1-2). Not only does He redeem us from our sins, He makes it possible to live a life acceptable to Him. Only by trusting in the work of the Holy Spirit within me does any good get done within me. By the grace of God, by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Messiah, my sins are forgiven. I am made righteous by the shed blood of Christ Jesus the Messiah on the cross. I am reborn because of Christ's resurrection. And through the gift of the Holy Spirit, I can walk in accordance with the written Word, through the power of Christ Jesus, for 'He who is in you (me) is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Again ... WHO is in every true born again Christian believer? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What more can I possibly say, but praise the Lord for what He has done for me! I pray and trust that if you have yet to fully comprehend what God accomplished by dying on the cross for YOU, you will make it your number one priority in life from this moment forward by seeking God for full understanding of this immeasurable act of love and mercy God demonstrated to and for the human race.

Truly - if you were the only person to be born after Adam and Eve, God STILL would have sent Jesus the living Word down from the glorious highest heaven to pay the penalty for YOUR sins so that you could receive not only His mercy and forgiveness for the eternal debt you owe Him for your sins against Him ... but HIS righteousness - God's righteousness. He loves you that much!

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)