AN AMAZING FACT: If you were sentenced to life in prison would you refuse a pardon? It’s happened before. Way back in 1895, a young Rhode Island man named Martin Dalton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. After serving over 30 years, in 1930 he was offered a pardon. Incredibly, Dalton refused it. He explained that he no longer had a family, nothing to do, and nowhere to go. The prison officials were not quite sure what to do with a rejected pardon. After much legal evaluation it was determined that a pardon refused was invalidated. Martin Dalton remained in prison until his death in 1960.
Dalton and his friend, Dan Sullivan, lured a man out of town, beat him up, and robbed him of a gold watch and cash. Before the man died he identified his assailants. Sullivan was arrested a few days later, and Dalton was caught three years later. He was working in Atlanta. From the first, Dalton was a docile prisoner. His behavior in prison was cooperative, his record clean. He worked in a machine shop, then the prison laundry, and later the prison farm. When he was given a “preview visit” of life outside of prison, he was supposedly frightened. Everything had changed. Clothing was different, automobiles scared him. He had nowhere to go.
During the last 61 years of his confinement he didn’t have a single visitor, and the last letter he received came to him in 1929. How sad. What’s even sadder is when millions of people under a death sentence refuse to accept the pardon and eternal life Jesus has purchased for them. Paul warned the Galatians, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
Jesus wants to visit you in your prison of sin. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Christ has purchased your freedom and will set you free. Do not refuse the pardon He offers. Eternal life outside is well worth accepting.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18