††† During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson,
a postal clerk, robbed a federal payroll from a train and in the process
killed a guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement
began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson (first offense), and eventually
Jackson intervened with a pardon.
††† Amazingly, Wilson refused it.
††† Since this had never happened before, the
Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse
a presidential pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the courtís
decision: "A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined
by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the
receiver gives to it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We
cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson
And so, as punishment for his crime, George Wilson, on a day appointed
by the court, was taken from his cell and hanged to satistfy the requirements
of the law. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted,
it must be accepted.
††† You and I are in a similar condition today.
††† We need pardon "For all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
We are all guilty of sin, and deserve the punishment that awaits
us on the appointed day of judgment.
††† Pardon has been offered by God. "For the
grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).
Jesus "is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice, the sin-bearer) for
our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (I John 2:2).
Pardon has been offered to all men Ė to the whole world!
††† Godís pardon must be accepted. The Bible teaches
that we may accept Godís pardon through faith (Hebrews 11:6), repentance
(II Corinthians 7:10), confession of Christ (Romans 10:9,10),
and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). We continue
to receive Godís pardon for our sins by walking in the light as He is in
the light, while the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from our sin
(I John 1:7).
††† A pardon is only a pardon if it is
accepted. Full pardon has been granted and is waiting.... Will you
accept Godís pardon on His terms?
(via: 9th Avenue church of Christ bulletin; Haleyville, AL)
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