In the last hours of his Presidency, Bill Clinton created quite a bit of uproar. He did what all outgoing Presidents of the United States do – he issued pardons to scores of Americans convicted of felonies. He was actually exercising a unique power granted to the President by the Constitution – to release a person from the legal penalties for a crime that they have committed. In the case of the Clinton pardons, there were a few that evoked reactions that ranged from surprise to shock to even anger – people who seemingly did not deserve a pardon. Whatever the merits or mistakes of those particular actions, all of us were reminded of a power we sometimes forget the President has – he can confer mercy far beyond what a person may deserve – in the form of that beautiful six-letter word – pardon.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A WORD WITH YOU today about “Scandalous Pardons”.
I’m not interested in attacking or defending executive pardons that may have been wrongly motivated or carelessly given. But it is a fact that some Presidential pardons are probably not deserved. None of God’s are. And without one, you and I have no hope. Because when it comes to our spiritual condition, we’re not talking twenty years here, or even a life sentence – we’re talking Death Row.
The Bible explicitly says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There is not one of us – even the most religious – who are not guilty of running our own lives instead of letting God run it. And turn the page in your Bible from that statement and it says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When the Bible says “death” it’s talking about eternal separation a sinful us from a sinless God. Death penalty. And we deserve it. We’ve effectively tried to be our own God.
World Book Encyclopedia says that a pardon releases a person “from the legal penalties for a crime”. And only the Chief Executive of the Universe can pardon you or me for our sin. But a holy God cannot possibly just say, “Your sin doesn’t matter”. He’s loving – but He’s just. My running of your own life cannot go unpunished. And it didn’t.
Listen to these amazing words from Hebrews 9:15, our word for today from the Word of God - “Christ has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed . . .”. Jesus paid the price to release you from Death Row – by becoming your Substitute and taking the death penalty for your sin when He died on the cross. World Book says, “A person who receives a pardon is entirely free. That person is not regarded as a criminal, because the pardon has the effect of wiping out the conviction.” That is what Jesus wants to do for you this very day.
Years ago a felon facing the death penalty was pardoned by the then President of the United States. Incredibly, he refused the pardon and he died for his crimes anyway. Please – don’t make that mistake with your eternal pardon from God. You can passively refuse His pardon – you can be aware of what Jesus did for you...in favor of what Jesus did...maybe you’ve had it offered to you many times – but you’ve never reached out and taken the pardon that He paid for with His life.
You can do that today – right where you are. Tell Jesus you are putting all your trust in Him to be your Savior from your sin. Find out more about how a relationship with God can be Yours for Life! If you're not sure you belong to Jesus Christ, and you'd like to make sure, check out YOURS FOR LIFE!