Pardon vs. Justification

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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Did you read, recently, about the man, named Zimmerman, who spent nearly twenty-five years in prison for a murder which, it is now clear, he never committed! The mistake was discovered two years ago, and he was released, of course, but only after spending almost a quarter of a century in prison for a crime he did not commit!

This was a grim mistake, but even at that, it must be wonderful in such a case, to be free — and to have people actually sympathize with you! Yet, after two years of liberty, Zimmerman says he still feels a bit numb. Waking up mornings he still imagines he hears the harsh sound of the prison bell, and looking about he still thinks he sees bars on the windows.

Things could be worse, though: Suppose he were guilty of the crime, merely pardoned and released. Then everyone would be saying: “There goes that murderer. They pardoned him. Don’t get too friendly with him.” The stigma would always remain – -as long as he lived.

Let us thank God that believers in Christ are not merely pardoned. Rom. 3:24 declares that we are “justified freely by [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Christ died for our sins and satisfied the just claims of the Law, and more: through the Holy Spirit He revolutionizes our lives and makes new creations out of us, for “If any man be in Christ,” says II Cor. 5:17, “he is a new creation.”

“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.

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