About the year 1830, a man named George Wilson killed a man. Wilson was tried, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. However, President Andrew Jackson sent him a pardon. But Wilson did a strange thing. He refused to accept the pardon! No one seemed to know what to do about this, so the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Marshall wrote the court’s opinion. In it he said, “A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged.” And so he was.
Through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus, God has pardoned every member of the human race. However, for the pardon to be valid, it must be accepted.
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”—Mark 16:16.