From Prison
to Pardon

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Contents

Friends introduced me to drugs and alcohol when I was 16
Reality set in when I was 17
Occasion to think
Made #1 on the Warden's list of bad inmates

Panic
Released
I continued to do what I knew was wrong
Study time
Opportunity time
Now, I came to see and understand that day that "IT'S A GIFT"

    I am a sinner and I need a Savior
    To just believe in God is not enough
    Salvation, the pardon of sins, is by God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ

    Amazingly, Jesus Christ wants to pardon and forgive my (and your) sins

    God raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave - He lives!
    I must agree with God or face the consequences
    For to be saved I must confess Jesus as Lord
    The time to act is now

Time to understand
Once you accept God's pardon you will be set free

Pride stands in the way
Accept Jesus Christ for who He is
Read the words of Jesus Christ
Discover forgiveness
Open your heart
Newness in Christ

But God fully pardons all our sins
You can be pardoned

God wants to pardon you!
Only commit yourself entirely to Him
Do it today!



From Prison
to Pardon

Friends introduced me to drugs and alcohol when I was 16. Before that I was a good kid. After that I became a drug dealer and a thief. I was not a notorious criminal but my own "real-life" prison to pardon experience has helped others. It is my hope and my prayer for you to be pardoned, too!

Reality set in when I was 17. I was convicted of a felony and served time in prison. After just 10 days in prison I was caught trying to get drugs smuggled into the prison. I spent the next 30 days in solitary confinement. They called it "the hole" but it was more like being thrown into a dungeon. The little room was enclosed with concrete walls and locked with a thick, solid steel door. There was only one small window high in a corner of the room about the size of a shoe box. In there I "celebrated" my 18th birthday.

Occasion to think. There's nothing to do in "the hole" - it forces you to stop and think. For the first time I considered that there really is a God and there really is a Satan; and there really is a heaven and there really is a hell - and this troubled me for I knew I did not deserve heaven.

Made #1 on the Warden's list of bad inmates. There were about a dozen cell blocks in the section of the prison I was in and there were 12 bunks in each cell block. When I was released from "the hole" I was assigned to cell block #1, bunk #1. I soon learned that cell block #1 was reserved for the worst of the inmates and bunk #1 was for the worst of the worst. What a reputation! Not only was I the youngest convict in the prison but I was #1 on the Warden's list of bad inmates (and they were watching me closely).



Panic. The first day I was released from solitary confinement I found a Bible that someone had left behind on one of the empty bunks. Over the next few days I began to read in the New Testament starting with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Finally I came to the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, where I read about "the second death" in chapter 2. Chapters 20 and 21 also talked about "the second death" and "hell… the Lake of Fire" (God's prison for unpardoned sinners). This really troubled me (scared me) and I consciously began to "run from God."

Released. After serving 6 months of my 2 year sentence I was placed on probation. The thing about prison (with rare exceptions) is that the inmates are all criminals. After I was released I teamed up with one of the other inmates and became his accomplice. I later saw that he had just been manipulating me so if we got caught I would be the one busted and not him. (I say this so you will not make the same kind of foolish mistake as I did!)

I continued to do what I knew was wrong. I came to a point in my life where I wanted to "get my act together" so I thought that moving away from my old life and my old friends would help me start all over and build a better life for myself - a life with a future. I wanted a new start, a new beginning and a new life, so I moved 3,000 miles away and enrolled in college. However, my heart was still sinful and I found that I continued to do what I knew was wrong.

Study time. Then I was invited to a Bible study. I was studying in the college library one day when another student came up to me and invited me to a Bible study. I ended up going and it was very obvious that there was something quite different about these people. They even gave me a Bible and some Bible study notes. I read all the study notes and during the Bible studies I took notes. For the next three months I ended up going to every single Bible study, church service and fellowship time they had.

Opportunity time. There were things I didn't understand. On May 10, 1976, I placed in front of me all the notes that I had taken from the Bible studies and church services and I began to review them. There were things I didn't understand so I called the person who invited me to the Bible studies and that person recommended a few verses for me to look up and read.

Now, I came to see and understand that day that "It's a gift"



    I am a sinner and I need a Savior
  • "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
  • "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
    To just believe in God is not enough
  • "You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble." (James 2:19)
  • "God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son." (Hebrews 1:1-2)
    Salvation, the pardon of sins, is by God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ
  • "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)


    Amazingly, Jesus Christ wants to pardon me and forgive my sins
  • "The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:7-9)
  • "He died for all, that the living ones may live no more to themselves, but to Him who died for them and having been raised." (2 Corinthians 5:15)


    God raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave - He lives!
  • "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…. And if Christ is not raised, your faith is foolish; you are yet in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:3,4,17)
    I must agree with God or face the consequences
  • "Death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire." (Rev. 20:14-15)
  • "It is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment." ["the 2nd death"] (Hebrews 9:27)
    For to be saved I must confess Jesus as Lord and believe in my heart that He is risen
  • "Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation…. whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:9,10,13)
    The time to act is now
  • "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have everlasting life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:12-13)

Time to understand. I understood that sin is a crime God either judges or pardons. As a convicted felon who served "time" I understood all about being judged for a crime. I also came to see that I was a guilty sinner, that I deserved to be judged by God for my sins and that He was going to judge me for my sins if I refuse to accept His wonderful free gift of a pardon - a "full pardon."

Once you accept God's pardon you will be set free. Being a convicted felon I knew that it would be foolish to refuse a full pardon. I understood that once I accept God's pardon I would not be guilty anymore - I would be forgiven!



Pride stands in the way. However, I was very stubborn and self-willed. I was used to going my own way. But God wants us to go His way. God wanted me to trust Him and accept the truth of what He did in sending His Son to save me from all my sins. All I needed to do was trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. But was I ready to commit my life to Him? Could I really trust God to know what's best for me and believe that His ways are far superior to my own ways? Is it true that the Lord Jesus really does love me so much that He would pardon and forgive an undeserving sinner like me?

Accept Jesus Christ for who He is and for what He has done for you. I had my own beliefs about God. However, I saw how religions have mankind trying to do good works to merit God's favor. But Jesus Christ is unique. With Jesus Christ, God is reaching down to man and requires that we accept the work He did for us by sending His Son. God revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures (the Bible) and He requires that we accept Him for Who He is and for what He has done in Christ. God's question to us is: What will you do with Jesus?

Read the words of Jesus Christ. Read what Jesus said when He was upon the cross being crucified and judged of God for our sins (for my sins and for your sins). He had been beaten, spit on, scourged, mocked, nailed to the cross and left there to suffer and die. Then He uttered these solemn words,

  • "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)
  • I re-read these words as if He were speaking directly to me - about my sins that put Him there to suffer and die on the cross for me:
    • "Father, forgive ____________ [YOUR NAME GOES HERE], for they do not know what they are doing."
Discover forgiveness. My hardened heart was melted. I knelt on the floor and I cried out, "Oh, God, I am such a guilty and wicked sinner." I began to confess my sins and after so long a time, with simple child-like faith and trust, I humbly said, "Jesus, thank you for dieing on the cross for me and forgiving my sins."

Open your heart. My tears of repentance turned to tears of joy. Having accepted God's pardon I was struck by this one great and wonderful truth: "Jesus saved me!" With tears of joy now streaming down my face I cried out like a little child full of excitement and joy, "I'm saved! Jesus saved me! I'm saved!"

Newness in Christ. When a sinner is saved the Bible says:

  • "If any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)


That was in 1976, and I now assure you that Jesus is faithful and true.

But God fully pardons all our sins. The "Good News" is this: when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior your sins are all forgiven, the record of your sins is expunged and you are a follower of Christ.

  • "The blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
  • "Therefore repent and be converted so that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19)
You can be pardoned. If you were offered a full pardon would you accept it? Or would you turn it down? Perhaps you like being miserable and in bondage (I once did). Perhaps the thought of such a wonderful, yet undeserved, gift is more than you can understand! But surely you would at least consider accepting a full pardon and the forgiveness of your transgressions and the new life that would open up for you! The courts have expunged all my felony and criminal records - it is as if it never happened. What happens when God pardons a sinner for their sins?



God wants to pardon you! Why does Jesus Christ love you and why did He suffer and die in your place? So you can be pardoned! What greater love is there but that Jesus suffered the death and judgment that you deserve so you could be saved (set free) from that death and judgment? Ask God to help you understand the love of Jesus Christ for you; that he shed His blood for you and is now risen and lives as Lord in heaven. He does not want you to perish in the coming judgment of "the second death." He wants to pardon you and forgive your sins. And it is a gift!

Only commit yourself entirely to Him - Body, soul, life, all. It is a joyous commitment!

  • "You have been bought [pardoned] with a price, therefore glorify God." (1 Corinthians 6:20)
  • "Now, having got your freedom from sin… you have your fruit unto holiness." (Romans 6:22)
Do it today! Accept God's gift of a full pardon! As an ex-con now pardoned by God and forgiven, I earnestly appeal to you and plead with you, for your own good: Today, will you turn from your sinful and selfish ways and be reconciled to God? Will you believe in Jesus Christ and have your sins forever forgiven?

  • "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

Jesus Christ is faithful.

I pray your conscience and heart is reached and that you humbly and thankfully accept the love of Christ and His pardon, now.

--Steven Silvers
aka: brother Silvers



  • Prayerfully Read the Gospel of John in the New Testament
  • Prayerfully Study the Bible Resources at Living Hope Ministries

Download From Prison to Pardon (.pdf format)





[Bible quotes are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).]