Thanksgiving pardon

by Marilyn Mathis

For many years the President of the United States has received a gift of a live turkey. At the end of November, during a ceremony at the White House, he issues an official “pardon” for the National Thanksgiving Turkey. What happens to the turkey once it is pardoned?

A. It is auctioned to the highest bidder.
B. It lives the rest of its life on a farm.
C. It is set free to live in the wild.

The answer: The turkey lives the rest of its life on a farm. He was doomed to be Thanksgiving dinner, but set free by the words of the President.

Like that turkey, we are in a similar situation when it comes to our sin. “For all have sinned . . . the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). But God’s word to each person is “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Why would a holy God forgive and cleanse unholy, sinful people? Because “He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God forgives us because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins. Through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we can receive God’s pardon and escape sin’s penalty — spiritual death.

Psalm 103:1-3 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities.” Did you notice that after telling us to not forget any of God’s benefits, the psalmist lists first our pardon for sin.

Some synonyms for pardon are forgiveness, mercy, remission, deliverance, grace, release and to set free. God “delivers us from the domain of darkness (sin) and transfers us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin” (Colossians 1:13-14). Like that turkey, we are set free — freedom from the penalty of sin the power of sin in our lives and one day the very presence of sin. We will be eternally with Him!

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. Whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).

The psalmist used three different Hebrew words for sin and forgiveness. He makes it clear that ALL sin can be covered, removed and no longer charged against us. Our record is cleared and the bill is paid in full by the blood of the Lamb.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! — Chisholm

God’s pardon sets us free to begin again and focus on today’s opportunities rather than yesterday’s defeat. His faithful cleansing allows us to start over with a bright hope for tomorrow.

Be thankful! Bless His holy name! Practice praise! Focus on the Giver! Be grateful for all His “benefits.”

Gratitude is a God-honoring attitude!


A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].