“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.”
The Bible records for us one of the most dramatic conversions imaginable. This demon-possessed man could not be controlled, even with chains. The Scriptures declare “that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him.” Nothing could subdue this man. But Jesus drove the evil spirits from the man, saved his soul, and made a new person out of him. After his conversion, he was found sitting, clothed, and in his right mind.
Conversion does for man what no social program can do. The woeful condition of this demonized sinner is a picture of the bondage of sin in every man. What this man needed was more than chains. He didn’t need to be bound; he needed to be set free.
It takes more than chains to make a man what he ought to be. This illustrates the programs of our society trying to deal with the unleashed violence and wickedness of our generation. Drugs are produced to help subdue irrational behavior. Rules are legislated to try to curtail criminal activity. Treatment programs are prescribed which condition the addicted to believe that he will never be anything other than what he has always been. Prisons and jails are constructed to restrain the violent or habitual offender. The truth is that none of these measures can solve the problem. Incarceration is a necessary part of the judicial system, but it only deals with the symptoms, not the root problem.
Only Jesus can deliver the sinner from the sin that binds him. This is true for every life. The unconverted need the Gospel of Christ and the transforming power of salvation. We know and love many that desperately need to be born again. Some are not bound in violent behavior or criminal activity, but they are equally enslaved by their pride or trust in a false religion that holds no hope. May we never stop praying for them and giving them the Gospel of Jesus’ saving grace. Chains alone are not enough; it takes Christ to redeem the lost sinner.