The Criminal's Rap Sheet (NIV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 4
- Version: NIV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the NIV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
In the Roman Empire, when a convicted criminal was serving his prison sentence, the prisoner’s rap sheet with the list of crimes he committed was nailed to the outside of his prison cell. Once the convict served his time in prison he was released and the nail was removed from the rap sheet leaving a hole in the piece of paper. The hole from the nail proved the convicted criminal had served the sentence for the crimes he had committed.
What does the criminal’s rap sheet have to do with humanity today? All of humanity has a criminal rap sheet against a Holy God. The Bible says, “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). As a result, humanity deserves God’s judgment in Hell. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). The good news is that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, took that criminal “rap sheet” of humanity’s sins and paid for it on the cross. In Colossians 2:13-14 we read: “You were dead because of your sins…. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”
Jesus paid our rap sheet of sins, was buried, was raised the third day, and appeared to many witnesses (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-5). Our guilt is not removed through our works or efforts to be forgiven by God for our sins. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed [in Jesus Christ]. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Humanity has a criminal rap sheet of sins against God, but Jesus had it nailed to Himself on the cross. Put your faith in Jesus today and have your criminal rap sheet canceled for good!
There was One Who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live;
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.
They are nailed to the cross! They are nailed to the cross!
Oh, how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross,
But He carried my sins with Him there.
He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of the dross;
But “there’s no condemnation”—I know I am free,
For my sins are all nailed to the cross.
I will cling to my Savior and never depart,
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.