Why He died
THERE was a young man one time who lived in a western state. He had never done anything very wrong. But one day he was playing a game of cards and he lost his temper. Picking up a revolver, he shot his opponent and killed him. He was arrested and tried. Finally he was sentenced to hang.
But because of the wonderful life he had previously lived, his relatives and friends got up a petition for him. It seemed as though everyone wanted to sign it. Before long other towns and villages heard about it, and people all over the state eagerly signed the petition.
At last it was taken to the governor, who happened to be a Christian, and tears came to his eyes as he looked at the large baskets filled with petitions. He decided to pardon the young man and so, writing out the pardon’, he put it in his pocket, and then dressed in the garb of a clergyman, he made his way to the prison.
As he approached the death cell the young man sprang to the bars.
“Get out of here,” he cried. “I don’t want to see you. I have had seven of your kind already. I had enough religion at home.”
“But,” said the governor, “wait a moment, young man, I have something for you. Let me talk to you.”
“Listen,” exclaimed the young man, in anger, “if you don’t get out of here at once, I’ll call the guard and have you put out.”
“But, young man,” exclaimed the governor, “I have news for you; the very best. Won’t you let me talk to you about it?”
“You heard what I said,” responded the young man, “and if you don’t leave immediately, I’ll call the warden.”
“Very well,” replied the governor, and with a sad heart he turned away and left.
In a few moments the warden approached.
“Well, young man,” he said, “I see you have had a visit from the governor.”
“What!” cried,the young man. “Was that man dressed in the garb of a clergyman the governor?”
“He was,” replied the warden, “and he had a pardon in his pocket for you, but you wouldn’t even listen to him.”
“Get me pen, get me ink, get me paper,” cried the young man. And sitting down he wrote, “Dear Governor, I owe you an apology. I am sorry for the way I treated you. . . “ and so on.
The governor received the letter, turned it over and wrote on the back, “No longer interested in this case,”
The day came for the young man to die.
“Is there anything you want to say before you die?” he was asked.
“Yes,” said the young man; “tell the young men of America that I am not dying for my crime. I am not dying because I am a murderer. The governor pardoned me. I could have lived. Tell them that I am dying because I did not accept the governor’s pardon.”
My friend, if you are lost it will not be because of your sins; it will be because you will not accept the pardon that God offers you through His Son. For if you refuse Jesus Christ, what can God do? You are turning down your one and only hope of salvation.
“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God” John 3:18. That, my friend, is the reason you are condemned.
You are not condemned because of what you do. You will never die because you are a murderer, for God can forgive murderers. You will never perish because you are a drunkard, a thief or an adulterer. God can forgive drunkards, thieves and adulterers. But there is one sin that even God Himself cannot forgive, and that is the rejection of His Son.
You are not condemned because you are not religious, or because you do not join the church. You are condemned because, and only because, you refuse God’s offer of mercy. “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed.” There is no other reason. If you are lost it will be because you will not be saved. If you refuse to receive Jesus Christ, if you turn down God’s pardon, there is no hope for you.
All that matters, therefore, is your relationship to Jesus Christ. What then are you going to do with Him? It is for you to decide. Your eternal destiny is at stake. If you accept Him you will be saved. If you reject Him you will be lost. Oh then, accept Him, and accept Him - NOW!