A Pardon Rejected

During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson robbed the U.S. mail and endangered the life of the carrier, and, in fact, committed the same crime several times (for details see United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. 150 (1833) ). The court convicted him and sentenced him to hang. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson, 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 court's 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 must die." "Pardon," declared the Supreme Court, "must not only be granted, it must be accepted." George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged.

Likewise, God, through His mercy, has provided every human being pardon from their sins. However, that pardon must be accepted in the way God has specified. Those who do not accept the pardon will perish. What has God specified that we be pardoned? Well, it wasn't to merely believe for the "devils believe and tremble" (James 2:19). James goes on to explain that works is involved in salvation and specifically noted that salvation is "not by faith alone."

Jews at Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ heard the gospel, were pricked in their heart and asked men inspired of God what they must do (Acts2:47). The answer: "Repent and be baptized...for the remission of sins...."  How does this harmonize with what you preach or what your preacher teaches? Failure to understand the terms of the pardon God offers will result in failure to comply with the terms, which is a rejection of the pardon.

Jesus warned that many would teach error. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). John said, " My loved ones, do not put your faith in every spirit, but put them to the test, to see if they are from God: because a great number of false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). What a mistake to misunderstand God's terms of pardon and miss out!

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).

-Author Unknown