One of my best girlfriends, Leah, is a kick-butt defense attorney. Recently, she represented a 20-something year-old man on trial for murder. He was found guilty of manslaughter, which carries a far lighter sentence than if found guilty of first-degree murder…in South Carolina.
I learned that South Carolina requires that 85% of ones sentence be served before they are eligible for parole. My heart sank at the notion that this young man would spend most of his creative and energetic years behind bars. I contemplated the heartbreak of both families. The dreams lost- or at best- deferred.
And then Holy Spirit interjected, “You know, in Me, he’s eligible for a pardon.”
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18 NIV
Note His words. Holy Spirit didn’t say parole. He said pardon- to forgive; to release from an offense; to release the obligation of restitution and further judgment; to absolve from liability. Wow! When we receive Jesus as our Savior, the Father makes us free. The Word says that He cast our sins into the ocean. (Micah 7:19), never to be found again. When I think about what God has thrown into the ocean…my sins, my thoughts, my decisions- whew. DON’T GET IN THE WATER…
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalms 103:12 AMP
When the Father frees us, He doesn’t require a three year, monthly check-in. Our voice, our right to vote (to speak on behalf of the Kingdom) is restored. Our record becomes our testimony on the goodness and mercy of the Just Judge. We’ve been pardoned. The only restitution required is that we forgive others as we have been forgiven (Eph. 4:32), to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Said into today’s terms: Pay it Forward.
So- I say, “Holy Spirit, I get it. But so many years. He’s so young….”
He responded, “Yes, this young man has physical, iron bars restricting his coming and going. But many of you have mental, iron bars that restrict your coming and going. The incarceration of your mind by your past and your background or the very real brick and mortar of a jail cell. Bondage is bondage.”
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Unfortunately, that is the testimony of many believers: free but bound. Bound to debt, roped up in past hurts, pressed by anger and unforgiveness, suppressed by lies and negative self-talk, enslaved by bitterness, stunted by fear, and chained by false theology.
Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10); that we would be free. Free Indeed!
If you’ve made Christ your Lord, you’ve been pardoned. Are you living free?
If you haven’t made Him the Lord of your life and want that freedom, that forgiveness, the gift of sonship, then simply ask Him. No special script, dance or chant. Just say “I’m sorry” and ask Him to be your Lord, your Life, your Love. Then brace yourself for the wellspring of His heart!
I leave you with a song by Anthony Brown, WORTH. I love the words:
“You thought I was worth saving…You thought I was worth keeping… You thought I was to die for…”
Let that sink in. He thought you were to die for.
SCRIPTURES REFERENCED ABOVE
Micah 7:19 NLT, Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
Ephesian 4:32 NIV, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Mark 12:31 NIV, The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”