Alexander III was Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. His rule was marked by repression, and in particular by persecution of Jews. His wife, Maria Fedorovna, provided a stark contrast, being known for her generosity to those in need. On one occasion her husband had signed an order consigning a prisoner to life in exile. It read simply, “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.” Maria changed that prisoner’s life by moving the comma in her husband’s order. She altered it to “Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.”
All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Jesus taught that each person is traveling one of two roads: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Because of our sin, we are traveling down the road to destruction, to Hell. Our situation was hopeless until, through Christ, “the comma was moved.”
Because of His great love for us, God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and receive the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:23).
God has promised to save those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1, 2, 4).
In Christ, God has changed the comma that stood against us. From “Pardon impossible, send to Hell” comes the good news of salvation: “Pardon, impossible to send to Hell.”
Won’t you allow God to “move the comma” in your life by accepting His offer of forgiveness and life?
David A. Sargent
via Church of Christ at Creekwood