The Pardon You Didn’t Deserve

What do you with an estranged son? What do you do as a Father if your daughter is marrying someone you have good biblical reasons not to approve of? The interesting thing is that for all these difficult relationship questions God is far more just than we are and He is simultaneously far more loving. There are times when we should have disciplined our children in justice and we did not, we were lazy, we let it go, and didn't disciple. And there are times when our love was also deficient. Whereas God’s love knew no bounds. God is the perfect Father. He knows you and He loves you. A governor or president has the right to pardon criminals, and God the Emperor of the Universe has the right to pardon you unconditionally, if He so chooses.

Let's look at this story from the life of David to prove the point:

Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart longed for Absalom. So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don’t use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead. Then go to the king and speak these words to him.” And Joab put the words in her mouth. When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honor, and she said, “Help me, Your Majesty!” The king asked her, “What is troubling you?” She said, “I am a widow; my husband is dead. I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him. Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.’ They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth.” The king said to the woman, “Go home, and I will issue an order in your behalf.” ...The woman said, “Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him...Then the king said to the woman, “Don’t keep from me the answer to what I am going to ask you.” “Let my lord the king speak,” the woman said. The king asked, “Isn’t the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of your servant. Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God—he knows everything that happens in the land.” The king said to Joab, “Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”....Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
— 2 Samuel 14:1-21

Unconditional Pardon is the right of kings (even Presidents) and is especially the right of God, but justice must be carried forth as well. The Bible tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly...what the woman says in vs. 14 above is key, God is always indeed always devising means to bring back banished sinners!  The primary means is the cross of Christ where every sin of God's elect people was paid for in full. No double jeopardy and no miscarriage of justice. Justice is served, mercy is given.  If this story gets weird and complicated and you don’t know whether true justice or true mercy has been served, then good, the OT has done its job of pointing you forward to the perfection of Christ’s justice and mercy. Jesus said “Of all that the Father has given I will lose (how many?)..."none."

In Prayer Today:

Praise God that in Christ you have received unconditional pardon and mercy, but that justice is simultaneously upheld because of the cross (every sin must be paid for).