“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”John 19:30
A good friend invited me for breakfast. As we met that morning he greeted me in an unusual way: “Good morning my pardoned brother!” I gave thought before I answered: “Good morning to you my brother.” Realizing what he had said, we entered into a discussion about the pardoning by the Lord. Naturally we both reveled in the knowledge that God had “pardoned” us, and that there were no strings attached.
As the Lord would have it, we met another brother who had been released from prison and my brother in Christ was about to say the same thing, when he realized that this brother in the Lord had been released from prison. After our departure one from the other, he said, “the Lord intervened in time for me not to offend that brother with that same greeting.”
Though the words forgiveness and pardon are closely aligned, one recognizes that in pardoning, one finds that guilt exists but a penalty does not have to be paid. In effect, when God pardons because guilt exists, He, God, already has accepted the penalty for sin that Christ took upon Himself at Calvary. The blood of the sacrificed LAMB, JESUS, perfect in every way, is sufficient. His offering was sufficient for every sin ever committed. As John Calvin said: “It is efficient for all who believe.”
One of the last sayings of Christ on the cross is most significant for us as we think about the word PARDON. He said: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) He had accomplished His mission. He had earned the right to pardon every human of their sin, when they acknowledged who He was and what He had done.