Begging Your Pardon
Friday, March 6, 2020
When you were dead in transgressions and the uncirumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Bob Sheffield, a staff member with the Navigators (an evangelism and discipleship training organization), often shared his testimony of forgiveness and pardon. In his younger years, he played professional hockey in Canada before becoming a Christian. He was tough on the ice and loved getting into fights. The fighting wasn’t confined to the hockey rink. On one occasion he was involved in a barroom brawl and found himself in jail. He now had a criminal record.
Some years later, Bob and his wife became Christians. They accepted a temporary assignment with the Navigators in the United States. Before placement, however, Bob had to apply for landed immigrant status in order to move from Canada and live in the States. Unfortunately, because of his criminal record, the request for immigration was denied.
After failing every attempt to expunge his criminal record, he applied for something Canadians call the Queen’s Pardon (also known as the Prerogative of Mercy). In the British legal tradition the Prerogative of Mercy is one of the historic Royal Prerogatives of the British monarch in which he or she can grant pardons to convicted persons.
It wasn’t promising . . . but it was his only hope.
To their amazement and joy, Bob received an official letter from the Home Office (Her Majesty’s government agency dealing with immigration), informing him that pardon had been granted.
The letter read:
Whereas we have since been implored on behalf of the said Robert Jones Sheffield to extend a pardon to him in respect to the convictions against him, and whereas the solicitor general here submitted a report to us, now know ye therefore, having taken these things into consideration, that we are willing to extend the royal clemency on behalf of Robert Sheffield. We have pardoned, remitted, and released him of every penalty to which he was liable in pursuance thereof.
From that moment on, whenever Bob was asked about any previous criminal record, he could honestly answer that he had none. The Queen’s Pardon meant that he was released from any possible punishment for the crime; in fact, the record of his crime was completely erased. It was as if he had never broken the law.
Paul’s text to the Colossian believers could easily be called the King’s Pardon. The Apostle Paul informs us that the record of our debt/sin has been completely canceled. Not one sin—not one single evil thought or deed—is left out of that pardon; all of our crimes have been erased, remitted, and released by the King Himself. Because of that, Paul later informs the Roman Christians that there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Should you hear the voice of the Accuser of the Brethren whispering the word “Guilty!” rehearse these great texts and remind him of the letter you received: the King’s Pardon.
You have written proof . . . that’ll silence him.
Prayer Point: Spend time today thanking God for erasing your record of sins and crimes against heaven. By daily remembering what Christ has done for you on the cross, you find both hope and courage to live for the King. Your pardon also serves as motivation to share with others the hope you’ve found in Him.
Extra Refreshment: Read through this entire chapter of Colossians 2.