A Pardon Refused

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
About a hundred years ago a man named George Wilson was sentenced to be hanged for robbing the United States mails and for murder. Andrew Jackson, who was then President, exercised his prerogative and sent him a pardon. Wilson, however, refused it, and insisted that it was not a pardon unless he accepted it.
The Attorney-General said that the law was silent on this point and the matter was referred to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Marshall gave the following decision: "A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that one under sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged!" And he was.
What could have induced Wilson to refuse the pardon that meant life and liberty to him? I do not know, but it was no greater folly than that which leads thousands to refuse, day after day, the pardon that is freely offered them by God. Men need pardon because they are offenders against God. Sin is a terrible offense in His sight, and all have sinned. ALL, therefore, need pardon. None can earn it, for men are not only sinners but "without strength."
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Rom. 5:66For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6).
But the Lord "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." God has not left us to perish without hope. On the ground of the atonement made by His own Son, He offers a free pardon to all. However, that pardon, if not accepted, will do you no good. Do not, I beg you, let this priceless pardon slip from you through indifference or stubbornness of heart.
"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:11, 1211He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:11‑12).