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George Wilson Refused a Pardon

Morning Glory, July 29, 1995, p. 35

About 1830, a man named George Wilson killed a government employee who caught him in the act of robbing the mails. Wilson was tried and sentenced to be hanged. The President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, sent Wilson a pardon. But, Wilson did a strange thing: he refused to accept the pardon.

No one seemed to know hat to do because of this, so Wilson's case was sent to the U. S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall wrote the opinion: "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." And he was.

The cross of Christ is a revelation of God's love for all people. We may do cowardly and disappointing things and bring deep pain to the Father's heart, but in the cross we see that He never gives up on us. Something happened that day on Calvary that forever makes a difference in the relationship between people and God. Even when the love of Jesus was thrown in His face with spitting, mocking and cursing, it remained unbroken.

The death of Christ on the cross is the pardon God has sent. But before it becomes a pardon, we must accept it in faith and obedience. It is through the cross, and only through the cross that we can be saved from sin and its consequence of eternal separation from God in hell.

Have you accepted God's pardon in Christ Jesus? If not, will you?