A few days ago, I wrote about the second saying of Jesus from the Cross to the malefactor followed by another on the request of the malefactor being granted. But imagine, for a moment, if that malefactor had refused the pardon offered by Jesus?
In 1830 , a man named George Wilson was arrested for mail theft, the penalty for which was death by hanging. After a time, President Andrew Jackson gave Wilson a pardon but he refused to accept it! The authorities were in a quandary now as to whether they should let Mr. Wilson be freed or hanged?
Bewildered, they consulted Chief Justice John Marshall, who handed down this decision: “A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.”
A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.
A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance.
The entire proceedings of this interesting case – United States v. Wilson , 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 150 150 (1833) can be found at http://supreme.justia.com/us/32/150/case.html
We see a similar situation in the Bible as recorded in Nehemiah 9:17, which reads
“And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.“
Point(s) to Ponder:
God offers His pardon (act of G.R.A.C.E – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense) to each one of us, but if that pardon is not accepted by us, his delivery is made incomplete. Don’t let God’s extension of His pardon left untaken? Refusing the pardon will return us to the bondage of sin and the wages of sin is death. Think about it and Act NOW and accept God’s free offer to be saved.