"An Inside Perspective"

October 2012


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! There were 12 men on death row that year. They were all stone cold guilty, and in their hearts they knew it. They may not have admitted their guilt publicly, but their conscience bore them witness that indeed it was so. It was a worm that would not die, ever gnawing at them by way of convicting remembrance as it magnified the exceeding sinfulness of their crimes. As much as they could not stand who they had become, they could never change the past. On top of that and with much graver consequences, a court of law had proven them guilty beyond any reasonable doubt and they were sentenced to death by their peers.

Sadly, and often unconsidered, their crimes had affected much more than just their victims. It had also torn apart both emotionally and financially their very own families. In desperate attempts to help them legally, perhaps at least thwarting the death penalty, houses had been hawked, life savings emptied and second mortgages taken out. It was all for naught though, as the legal system, with its myriad of time consuming appeal processes, ground on towards its final irrefutable lethal verdict.

The Governor at the time was a wise man and full of compassion. He was much lauded by the people and had been the author of many successful reforms. He was never fully settled in his heart though that the legal system was of itself without fault. He knew that the buck stopped with him and that if anyone was put to death in his state, he was fully accountable.

A man of faith himself, he understood clearly the Biblical principle of delegated authority, and that indeed, his very own authority came from God. That made him a very cautious man. He resolved in his heart to write a letter to all twelve men on death row and offer them a pardon upon meeting certain conditions. It was unheard of and could come with severe political repercussions, yet in the face of his best counselors, he sent the letters.

The letters were sent certified mail. To their own demise, and because of the bitterness which had compounded in their own hearts through the lengthy legal process, they all adamantly refused the letters. Yes, the prisoners sent them back without even reading them! With mouths full of accusation and cursing, the prisoners simply became all the more enraged against the Governor and the system despite their own blood guilt!

The Governor, after much prayer, decided that by executive fiat he would freely pardon four of the men and leave the others to receive their justice. He went straight to the prison and hand-picked four men and set them free upon conditions of repentance and the full admission of guilt.

The other eight men were all the more enflamed with hostility and jealously against the four men that had been freed, and even more so, against the Governor himself. In reply the Governor put out an explanatory statement. It read as such, “All twelve men were guilty and deserved death. I would have been perfectly just to execute them all. Instead, I chose under terms of the law to exercise mercy on four men and give them a second chance. Did they deserve it? No, they did not. In fact, I would have been perfectly just to execute them all. Now am I being accused of being unjust because I extended mercy on the four and allowed justice to take its course with the rest? I desired to show that I am not only the Governor over justice, but that the law has also provided a way, through the pardon system, for me to show compassionate mercy.

It is written, “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will He hardeneth” (Rom. 9:18).

We would all agree that God could save all men. We know though, that for His all wise and sovereign purposes, He chose not to. We also know that God could have chosen to save no one. If He had, He would still have been perfectly just and righteous in that choice. Therefore, we are left with the deductive truth that God did choose to save some, but not all.

Our Heavenly Governor has sent men a letter. In fact, God has sent man an entire Book explaining everything. Finally, in His love He sent a Living Letter in living flesh. Men won’t read it though, and if they do, it only engages them all the more against the very One they say is not. God’s justice is still perfect and alarmingly final and He will yet judge all. Was God wrong for displaying at the cross the righteousness of His holiness through justice on sin, while at the same time, demonstrating His loving mercy on sinners? No, He was not; in fact He was shown exceedingly gracious.

It is we who are wrong if we do not preach the gospel to all. That is our charge; let us simply do as we are told. Beloved, let us leave the choosing to God, just as He has chosen to leave the witnessing to us. We are not sovereign; we do not know who is who; we do not choose---we share the gospel! Our Heavenly Governor is wise and full of compassion. He loves, but not at the cost of His justice. In fact, both are upheld at the cross as justice receives its due even while the guilty is pardoned! Precious one, is it any wonder we will forever sing about His...