King Frederick and the Guilty Criminal

There is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ…. (1 John 2:1, NLT).

Dear friends:

The story is told that one day Frederick the Great, who ruled the eastern German state of Prussia from 1740-1786, visited a prison and talked with each of the inmates. There were endless tales of innocence, of misunderstood motives, and of exploitation.

Finally the king stopped at the cell of a convict who remained silent. “Well,” remarked King Frederick, “I suppose you are an innocent victim too?”

“No, sir, I’m not,” replied the man. “I’m guilty and deserve my punishment.”

Turning to the warden, the king said, “Here, release this rascal before he corrupts all these fine innocent people in here!”

It seems that most guilty people proclaim their innocence, or claim that they are victims of someone else’s transgressions, especially in our modern society where so many people have a “victim mentality.” The guilty hire lawyers to try to prove their innocence, and the defense lawyers often distort the facts or totally fabricate arguments to obtain an innocent verdict for their clients. In many cases, our courts have become games to see who can tell the biggest and most believable lies.

Man does not like to admit his sinfulness. He is much more comfortable discussing “imperfections, weaknesses, mistakes, and errors in judgment.” These terms are socially acceptable, and almost everyone identifies with them.

Natural man almost always engages in self-justification, regardless of the truth. And an outright acknowledgment of guilt before a holy God is something many people avoid. Yet this kind of honesty is the first step to the freedom from sin and guilt that God longs to give us and has provided in the death of Christ.

This kind of honesty is also a work of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus said would come to “convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (John 16:8, NLT).

Christians need not falsely proclaim their innocence, but be honest with God and receive His wonderful forgiveness and cleansing according to 1 John 1:9-10: “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts” (NLT).

When we confess our sins, “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, KJV). The word “advocate” here means “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense.”

Thankfully, we have the greatest Defense Lawyer in the universe! He wins every case, truthfully!

Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission
each year until our Lord returns,

Bill Bright

About the Author
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world’s population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, “JESUS,” which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Dr. Bright recently co-founded Global Pastors Network to “Touch, Teach and Train” a group of 5 million new house churches around the world 24/7/365 at

Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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