What is a Pardon? A pardon is an act reversing a sentence given under a guilty verdict. A pardon can only be given by one with power and authority to give it. Kings and Queens can grant pardons. Presidents have the power to pardon criminals in America. Governors have the power to pardon criminals within their state; but only God has the power to pardon sin. “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). A pardon is only granted for guilty people. Also a pardon removes all past records of the crime. All need to be pardoned because all are born sinners. “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). All includes you. God has the authority to offer you a pardon through Jesus Christ His Son (John 3:16). No one is pardoned without Christ – No one! (Acts 4:12). You can receive or reject your pardon! In 1829, George Wilson, a convicted criminal, was sentenced to die. President Andrew Jackson offered him a pardon, but he refused to accept it. It was the first time a pardon was refused. The Supreme Court then declared that a pardon cannot forced, but must be freely received. The pardon is worthless unless accepted. George Wilson rejected his pardon and died for his crime. You can receive or reject your pardon! “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). A governor was to give a pardon on a special day. Each prisoner waited, hoping his name would be called. Finally, a name was called. “Reuben Johnson, come forth. You are now pardoned.” As the prisoners sadly returned to their cells, Reuben Johnson also got in line to return to his cell. The governor said, “Reuben, you don’t need to go back to prison. You have been pardoned and you are now free.” With tears rolling down his cheeks, Reuben Johnson said, “I don’t have to go back to my cell. I am free.” As Reuben Johnson, Christians can also say, “I am pardoned. I don’t have to go to Hell. I am free.” Dear friend, you don’t have to go to Hell! God offers Jesus Christ as your pardon for sin, but the pardon remains useless until it is received. God will not force you against your will. As George Wilson you can reject your pardon and die in your sins, or as Reuben Johnson you can receive your pardon and be set free. The Lord says, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death…therefore choose life…” (Deut. 30:19). It is your choice. No one can choose for you. Have you been pardoned?
Your pardon is now waiting for you – accept and receive it! In Heaven you will be eternally glad you did!