Scripture Reading: “…that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalm 51:4)
Knowing that God was a personal eyewitness to his undeniable and inexcusable crimes, David was left without defense. He was forced to plead guilty and to throw himself on the mercy of the heavenly bar. Furthermore, he knew that his conviction would be “clear” and his condemnation “justified.” There would be neither question nor controversy over God’s rendering of such a judgment against him.
Thanks to the law, all sinners, like David, are left without defense before God. According to the Apostle Paul, the law left all sinners undeniably and inexcusably guilty before God (Romans 3:19). God said “Do” and we didn’t; God said “Don’t” and we did. Therefore, “the world” stands “guilty before God” and “every mouth” is “stopped” from making excuses or attempting to exonerate itself.
God’s conviction and condemnation of this fallen world would be clearly justified. Yet, God offers to us a divine pardon for our inexcusable crimes against Him. It is a pardon offered without compromising God’s justice thanks to the fact that God’s Son paid the full penalty for our sins on the cross of Calvary. With every sin punished in Christ, every sinner can be pardoned at Christ’s expense. As incomprehensible as it is to believe that God would go to such lengths to forgive the unforgivable, what is even more incomprehensible is that the vast majority of the unforgivable refuse to accept the divine pardon.
In 1829, President Andrew Jackson pardoned George Wilson, a murderer sentenced to be hanged in Pennsylvania. Wilson, however, refused to accept his presidential pardon. President Jackson, insisting that a pardon was a pardon whether accepted or not, demanded that Wilson’s execution be halted until the Supreme Court could decide the matter. The Court decided, much to Jackson’s chagrin, that a pardon is not a pardon until it is received.
“A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon 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.” (Chief Justice John Marshall)