Sermon Illustrations

ILLUSTRATION: The man who rejected a pardon.

1.) I found this true story online. United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death. Due to his friends' influence, Wilson was pardoned by Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case.The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him." Therefore, Wilson was hanged.

APPLICATION: Possible reasons why Wilson rejected the pardon offered to him, combined with spiritual applications.

1.) Maybe he was too proud to receive the pardon. It is possible for sinners to be too proud to receive God's pardon. Psalms 10:4 "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."

2.) Maybe he didn't value his life, many times sinners don't value their soul. Mark 8:36 "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

3.) Maybe he didn't believe the pardon was actually genuine. Sometime sinners refuse to believe that God's offer to pardon them is genuine. Romans 3:3-4 "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar"

4.) Maybe he felt like he deserved the death penalty, and for that reason he was willing to die, I have had sinners tell me, "well, if I deserve to go to hell that's what I'll get." Psalms 55:15 "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them."

5.) Maybe he hated the president that offered him the pardon and therefore he rejected it, some sinners hate God so much that they would reject the pardon no matter what. Romans 1:30 "haters of God"

Zechariah 11:8 "my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me."

6.) Maybe his life had no meaning, and he felt no purpose to live. The book of Ecclesiastes was written as a man searching for meaning to life while leaving God out. Ecclesiastes 2:17 "Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit"

CONCLUSION: Sin is always a violent attack on Gods glory, but God has through Christ satisfied what the justice of God calls for in the punishment of sin by his propitiatory sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ became the full payment for all iniquity, and God can through Christ offer a full pardon to any sinner that will repent of his sins and receive Christ as his only hope of Salvation. Jeremiah 33:8 "And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me."

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