Forgiven

officers_at_court_martial_ca_1835

A soldier, whose regiment lay in a garrisoned town of Old England…

…was about to be brought before his commanding officer for some offence. He was an old offender, and had been punished time after time, yet without effect.

“Here he is again,” said the officer, on his name being mentioned; “everything—flogging, disgrace, and imprisonment—has been tried with him.”

Whereupon the sergeant stepped forward, and, apologizing for the liberty he took, said, “There is one thing which has never been done with him yet, sir.”

“What is that?” was the answer.

“Well, sir,” said the sergeant, “he has never been forgiven.”

“Forgiven!” exclaimed the colonel, surprised at the suggestion. He reflected for a few minutes, ordered the culprit to be brought in, and asked him what he had to say to the charges against him.

“Nothing, sir,” was his reply; “only I am sorry for what I have done.”

Turning a kind and pitiful look on the man who expected nothing else than that his punishment would be increased with the repetition of his offence, the colonel addressed him, saying, “Well, we have resolved to forgive you.” The soldier was struck dumb with astonishment; the tears started in his eyes, and he wept like a child. He was humbled to the dust, he thanked his officer, and retired.

Do you think that he left to be the old reprobate, and incorrigible man that he had been? No!  He became another man from that day forward. He who told me this story had him for years under his command, and a better conducted man never wore the Queen’s colors. For here was a man that kindness had bent, but one whom harshness could not break. This man had been conquered by mercy, and, completely forgiven.  Ever afterwards this soldier feared to offend in even the smallest thing.

Is that not the way it is with the Christian? His heart is twisted towards hell. His mind is at war with God, and hates all things God-like.  Then a change happens. Is it because that one morning he wakes up and decides to turn over a new leaf?  Not at all, it is because one morning he wakes up and finds that he is an awful sinner, that he is completely destitute of an excuse. That he is without hope for a pardon, and that there is nothing that he can do to save himself.

Then God appears, and forgives this destitute sinner.  To say that he did anything, or earned any part of the forgiveness that he received, is ludicrous.  For this new Christian to claim that God owed him this grace, would be the thought farthest from his mind.  So what changed him?  I will tell you what, it was the forgiving and cleansing grace of God.

How did it come about? I am glad you asked.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.