The Effect of Pardon
2 Samuel 12:13
And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said to David, The LORD also has put away your sin…

1. We have two cases of sinners who have been entirely pardoned, and whose actions after the announcement of that pardon have been left on the record of Scripture — David and Mary Magdalene. Certain distinct features appear in their cases after forgiveness, which are separate from the features of their penitence; an intensity of love proportioned to the amount of remitted debt, a life of continual carefulness, and a pathway in which they trod more or less softly to the end el their days. And all this proceeding partly from the deepest gratitude, and partly from the encouragement afforded by knowing they were forgiven. We are all familiar with the glorious effects of the pronouncing of pardons in the case of earthly criminals and earthly punishments. These may as faint shadows symbolise to us the effect on our spiritual life of the pronounced pardon of sin.

2. Under the Jewish dispensation we frequently find that a certain bodily trial was annexed as a penalty to an act of rebellion against God; and when that act of rebellion was repented of the act was cancelled.

(1) Thus Zacharias offended against God by the expression of unbelief in the promise of the angel; the penalty of speechlessness was immediately annexed to his crime.

(2) The children of Israel rebelled against God by their constant desire to return to Egypt, their unwillingness to yield to the law of Sinai, which imposed a new curb on their stubborn dispositions, and a reluctance to go up and conquer the holy land, where the sons of Anak dwelt. The constant wandering in the wilderness was their punishment.

(3) It would be highly dangerous to us to attempt to apply this rule rigidly to our own case. We are seldom certain of the connection between the cause and effect in the case of our own troubles, and even, where we might be able, we should find it hard to say in what cases the removal of infirmity is equivalent to the statement of pardon. But to a certain degree we may apply this rule.

3. But there are other conditions which we may take, as in some degree equivalent to a pronounced pardon. When a sin has bound us in its chains, and we lamenting over its dominion use every effort to subdue it and at last succeed, and form the contrary habit, we may naturally hope that that sin is forgiven. When we remain tied and bound by the chain of our sins in spite of every effort to overcome them, we may take for granted that He, Whose grace is all-sufficient, refuses on account of some lurking impenitence to grant the pardon. There is some goodly Babylonish garment hidden in the heart, and till that is given up the dark citadel will not yield. The moment the surrender is entire, God's hand will free the captive, and the stronger man will enter the strong man's house, take his spoils and the armour wherein he trusted. There are times when strong inward persuasions, feelings of inward joy, the witness of the Spirit may be indications of God's forgiveness. When these feelings are permanent, real, and healthy, we may fairly argue that they can proceed from no other source than the blessed Spirit of God.

4. We must consider the result of pardon on the penitent.

(1) An intense, earnest, cheerful desire to follow God for the future would be the first impulse of the pardoned sinner. When the man of Gadara was released from Legion, his first impulse was to sit for ever at Jesu's feet. When. Mary's pardon had proceeded from the lips of Him Who never fails, wherever He was, there was she; at the cross, over against the sepulchre, and in the garden on Easter morning. When the blind man of Jericho received his sight from our Blessed Lord, his first impulse was to forsake every worldly consideration and follow Christ. The first impulse of the prodigal, under the hope of possible forgiveness from an offended father, was to work for the remainder of his life cheer. fully as a hired servant. When David had been assured of the forgiveness of God for his sin, his first impulse was to take, with the utmost patience, his punishment, and to rise up cheerfully to go about his religious and his secular duties.

(2) Another result of the consciousness of forgiveness is the definiteness of a new beginning of a heavenly life. When a dreary past lies behind us, to which there is no definite end, a long waste of hazy night, an unascertained morning with no clear sunbeams to mark the border-land, we lack spirit and energy in our religious course. When the brilliance of that morning light wholly eclipses the night past we travel on like new beginners, briskly, and clearly and energetically.

(3) A third result which arises from the pardoned state is the power to cast off the chains of a now past captivity. The mere consciousness of a sin clinging to us, because unpardoned, gives a continual sense of inconsistency, a constant dread lest the labour we are spending should be in vain.

(4) The pardoned condition enables us to realise with a full and vivid power the objects both of faith and hope. These considerations with respect to the pardoned state should lead us to all the lawful investigation which we may follow of what are the trustworthy tokens of that condition; and while we should never rest satisfied for one moment with remaining on the border-land between doubtful and ascertained duty, we should surely also strive to ascertain as closely as we can the real nature and power of absolution-committed to the Church.

(E. Monro.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

WEB: David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Yahweh." Nathan said to David, "Yahweh also has put away your sin. You will not die.

The Acknowledgment of Sin
Top of Page
Top of Page