But, one Sunday evening, while listening to a sermon on a local radio station, Lowell reached a moment of despair about the direction of his life and became convinced he was going to hell. He said: “The tears were streaming and I simply fell on my knees before Him and I said, ‘Lord, make me a Christian. Change my heart. Take this away and help me to follow You.’ And He did it.”
Lowell would remain in solitary confinement seven more years, but he said that time was vital to his growth as a new believer. “I used the time to read, study, and meditate on God’s Word, and to pray. The Lord was growing me in my fellowship with Him. It wasn’t wasted time.”
Providentially, Lowell discovered Renewing Your Mind on the radio and says Dr. Sproul’s teaching was key to his growth. “I became more theologically mature mainly from listening to that program,” he said. He also obtained a copy of the Reformation Study Bible, the same Bible he uses today to prepare sermons as the pastor of a church in Virginia. He is also a husband and the father of three children.
Lowell’s transformation is so profound that, as I interviewed him, I could not believe that the person before me was the same one that he described before his conversion. Notice how he describes the transformation from his white supremacist identity in prison:
The Lord has delivered me so profoundly from the sin of racism. As I read His Word, and as my thinking and my affection are shaped by the Word of God, there is no way I could harbor any animosity toward anyone.
The Motivation for Living a Transformed Life
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were reminded time and again of God’s mercy in liberating them from slavery. “For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).
Likewise, Paul bases his appeal in Romans 12 on “the mercies of God” (v. 1), which he detailed in chapters 3–11. He even reminds us of our liberation from slavery to sin (6:20–23). Lowell describes God’s mercy in setting him free from sin: “He has been so gracious. He has lifted me up out of the ash heap and the pit that I had dug for myself. And He’s delivered me into the glorious kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ.”
It’s tempting to think Lowell’s conversion is more amazing than ours. We do well to remember that, like Lowell, we were just as dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). But, like Lowell, God has shown us mercy. As Isaac Watts wrote in his famous hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”