1 Peter 2:24
“[Jesus] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…” (NIV)
In 1829 George Wilson robbed a mail carrier. For a crime “against the peace and dignity of the United States of America” and endangering the mailman he was to be hanged.
However, President Andrew Jackson pardoned him. He sent the news in a letter with the seal of the United States President. But what happened next baffled everyone.
George Wilson refused to accept it. He didn’t want to be pardoned!
Since this had never happened before no one knew what to do. So the case went to the Supreme Court who ruled that, for a pardon to be valid, it needed to be accepted.
And he didn’t. So Wilson hanged.
Today, my point is this: Why are you willing to give forgiveness, but not receive it?
Well, maybe you SAY you receive it. But you don’t LIVE like you’ve received it.
When we place our faith in Jesus and confess our sins to God, he forgives us. It’s in his power. It’s a liberating move that frees us to live godly lives and bless others, assured of eternity and not hunched over with guilt or uncertainty.
But when we continually berate ourselves over past sins, live in fear, and doubt God’s willingness to be active and powerful in our current lives—whatever they may look like—aren’t we kind of acting like George Wilson, refusing a pardon that is in God’s power to give?
I’m not saying that God only forgives you if you accept it. His mercy can be bigger than your obstinacy.
But when we berate ourselves over past sins, live in fear, and doubt God’s willingness to be active and powerful in our current lives, we’re tightening a noose that God has already loosed.
Christ has set you free. Live like it.
By Matthew Ruttan
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