"A Pardon Too Late"
August 11, 2010
It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27
Most historians would say that Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid on July 14, 1881.
Most people would think Billy's death should have closed the history books on the outlaw's notorious life.
If that's what most people think, they would be wrong. Now, almost 130 years after the events transpired, the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, is thinking about granting a posthumous pardon to Billy.
It is a gesture that is not sitting well with the descendants of Pat Garrett. They have a number of objections to the matter. First, it would call into question the actions of their ancestor. Second, they think it's wrong to pardon a criminal who was responsible for the murder of two lawmen as well as many others.
Now the purpose of this devotion is not to share my opinions about a governor who wishes to pardon a murderer who has been dead for 125 years. I have some definite feelings about the matter, but they are not important here.
No, the purpose of this devotion is to talk about the idea of a posthumous pardon.
As far as the Lord is concerned, there is no such thing -- not when it comes to humanity.
The Lord very clearly tells us that if we are to be pardoned from our sins, it will happen while we are alive -- not after we're dead. If the substitution of the Savior is to have an impact, if Jesus is to save us that must happen when we're living.
There are no do-overs once we're dead.
This is one of the reasons the Savior has asked us to share His story of salvation with those around us. God wants all people to be saved, and that includes those who are in our immediate family and circle of friends.
This is why I encourage you to keep on witnessing to the greatness of God's grace which we've seen in the Bethlehem manger, Jerusalem's cross, and the borrowed tomb. Today is the day to believe. Today is the day to share.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I give thanks for the faith You have given me. Now may I -- whenever I can -- share the Savior's story with others. Keep me from postponing my proclamation of Jesus. Don't let me wait until it's too late. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries