As seen in HEARTbeat and the Village Voice



            Excuse me; pardon me; forgive me.  All phrases we hear from people who may have not heard what you’ve said, bumped into you by accident in a crowd, or someone who has done a slightly encroaching act such as spilling something on you.  Each one is meant to ask the one who was misunderstood, unheard, or bumped into to not hold the incident against the one asking for the pardon.

            In the world of legal system, particularly the penal system, a pardon takes on a whole different meaning.  Usually, and more times than not for political reasons, a person who has the power convert or set aside a conviction does so just before leaving office.  This is usually a governor or even the president of the United States.  We normally hear this official granting clemency to an individual.

            When clemency is granted, this means the person’s sentence is replaced.  The granting official replaces the sentence imposed by the court with one of a lesser punishment, usually with “time served.”  The record of that individual is not cleared and it follows them through life.

            A pardon is similar to clemency but is different in many respects.  A pardon is the exemption of a convicted person from the penalties of an offense or crime.  In other words, the sentence imposed by the judiciary is eliminated or wiped away.  According to the Arkansas Department of Corrections website, a pardon is, “a total forgiveness of a criminal penalty.”  The penalty cannot be imposed on the person at any time.  While the record of the individual is not wiped clean, the record of the crime will still be maintained on criminal databases.

            Have you received your pardon yet?  The better question is, has God granted you clemency or a pardon?  This is a trick question.  God doesn’t grant clemency.  He is not in the business of lessening our sentence or commuting it to “time served.”  God is an all or nothing God.  Either He wipes away the crime (sin) or He doesn’t.

            We have to acknowledge where everyone is headed from the time we are born.  All of mankind is born into sin, and as a result of sin are bound or headed to hell.  There is no getting around that!  That is the sentence for the sin in our lives – everlasting separation from God.  But when we accept Jesus as God’s only Son, and the sacrifice of His life for the forgiveness of sins as God decreed in the Law, and then make Him the Lord of our life, our sentence to hell is not commuted, we are pardoned.  At the moment of the pardon, we are released from the penalty of the sin and are no longer bound by it.

            We will still have to account for the sin in our lives?  Many Bible scholars believe we will still have to stand before God and give an account for our lives.  But at the end of the accounting, Christ will whisper in His Father’s ear, “This one is mine.  I paid their price on the cross.”  The record, the database if you will, will be wiped clean and we begin worshipping the one who made it possible!

            Still not pardoned?  Run to the only One who can give it!  Run to the Father.

  Mountainside Church · 301 Elcano Drive
Hot Springs Village · AR 71909

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