Sermon Illustrations

In 1829 a man named George Wilson was arrested for robbery and murder in a US mail heist. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. Some friends intervened on his behalf and were able to obtain his pardon from President Andrew Jackson. But when told of this, Wilson refused it saying he wanted to die. Well, the sheriff didn’t know what to do, how do you execute a man officially pardoned? An appeal was made to the President who perplexed turned the matter over to the US Supreme court. Chief Justice John Marshall gave this ruling: A pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. Anyone under the sentence of death would hardly be expected to refuse a pardon, but if it’s refused, it’s no pardon. Thus, George Wilson was executed while his signed pardon lay on the sheriff’s desk!

In the same way, God has offered His gift of divine purity to every person, a gift that not only provides pardon from eternal condemnation, but offers much, much more. However, this gift of Christ must be personally appropriated to be personally beneficial.

(This illustration came from the book "Revolution Within" by Dwight Edwards)