Vol.XII No.III Pg.3
May 1975

God's Point Of Pardon

Dan S. Shipley

The precise point at which God extends pardon to the sinner, though a highly controversial subject, must be faced up to and carefully considered by every heaven seeker. The answer to this question involves every accountable being simply because all have sinned and need saving (Rom. 3:23). It is an answer that must be sought and understood personally. It will not do to just line up with the majority or even to follow in the family tradition. Here is something that involves eternal consequences; something that I must be absolutely sure about and something that cannot be left to mere chance or intuition. Since only God can pardon, only God can set forth the terms of pardon.

Therefore, the starting place is trust in God. Man must trust in God more than self and more than any mortal. This means having more confidence in what He says than in what I may feel, suppose or imagine. Truly trusting in God is to esteem all His precepts concerning all things to be right and allowing them to order our every step (Ps. 119:128,133). Without such faith none can please God, much less receive His pardon. Saving faith stems from what is written (Jn. 20:31) and cannot be lawfully expressed in ways that may seem right (Prov. 14:12). True faith is influenced by Divine testimony, not by human testimonials. To rely upon feelings and experiences as proof of pardon is to walk by sight and not by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Nothing is to be trusted above what God says. Heaven is promised to only those who do Gods will (Matt. 7:21) and every pardoned sinner is one who has submitted to that will. Surely, the testimony of Jesus is worth hearing on this matter. In saying He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, Jesus clearly puts the pardon after the baptism. In doing so, He shows the kind of faith that God blesses is that which expresses itself in baptism. It is not a matter of faith in baptism, but it is faith in the One who commands baptism as He does here in Mk. 16:16. Peter does likewise in Acts 2:38 only adding the repentance that must precede baptism. Again, what is written shows that remission of sins occurs at baptism and not before. The reason is made clear in Acts 22:16 where we read of Soul being instructed by Gods spokesman to arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. Sins are washed away in baptism! Saul clearly believed before this but he was not pardoned before this!

Further, all agree that newness of life begins at the point of pardon. In Rom. 6:4 Paul shows that we are raised from the burial of baptism to walk in newness of life, proving again that sins are remitted in baptism. The same process is called being born again in Jn. 3:3,7 and the washing of regeneration in Titus 3:5. Men are united with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:5) and men put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27) simply because MEN PUT OFF SINS IN BAPTISM! Faith that saves is faith that obeys. Paul reminds the Roman brethren that they were made free from sin after obeying gospel teaching which included baptism (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:1-4). We are made free from sin in the same way.