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Monday, February 1, 2010

I Beg Your Pardon

For Thy name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Psalms 25:11 (New American Standard Bible)

Ever hear someone tell a new convert that Jesus’ work of redemption has made it “as though you never sinned”? Well, yes and no. I consider what criminal pardon is. The criminal is indeed guilty of the act but in spite of it he/she receives clemency. The authority granting the pardon does not look upon the malefactor as having never committed the trespass but gives a cancelation of a penalty for the offense. The trespasser is well aware of their guilt yet is no longer held accountable to be punished in the eyes of the law. Even at that a person can be pardoned and still be disrespected and held in contempt by their peers.

Pardon and forgiveness walk a thin line but there does seem to be a line. A debtor can never forget what they did but can find great relief and even awe in a pardon. They no longer need to keep looking over their shoulder for the Long Arm of the Law to catch up with them and give them what they deserve. I find the greatest wonder in being pardoned for my sin. I know what kind of nasty piece of work I can be and get embarrassed at some of the things I’ve done in my past. This causes me to be amazed at being pardoned for all those sins. Forgiven yes and in remembering my actions very aware of what a pardon for my rebellion means to me personally.

We all are guilty for the word of God says there is no human being who is without sin, no not one (Psalms 14:1-3, Ecclesiastes 7:20). If we are guilty, and God’s Word tells us we unfortunately are, then we all deserve to be punished for our sins. This is where pardon brings such a wonderful relief to us. Christ does pardon those who come to Him in faith but goes a further step in forgiving the person and not harboring disrespect and disapproval against them for what they did. If I were pardoned I would want to be totally accepted back into complete fellowship with those around me. Christ does this for all who believe on Him. God’s plan was to give a means to receive pardon through the shed blood of His Son that all who believe on Him can receive leniency and compassion, pardon and forgiveness. We all stand before one another with the marks of the shackles on our wrists. We can’t say we were framed for we know better. “Yeah, I’m guilty as sin” takes on a whole new meaning. I did it and I deserve just punishment. All the more incredible when we are pardoned for all the wrong we’ve done and then realize there is no contempt held against us in the settlement. There are times in this world when seeking pardon from someone we must bow and scrape and at times beg. But with the Judge of the Universe we only need believe on His Son and simply ask. Jesus said all who come to Him He will not reject (John 6:37). Begging His pardon is never necessary for He is always willing and gracious to give it to anyone who asks no matter how serious the crime.