More Than Amnesty


Neither every moment nor every aspect of pastoral ministry enthralls. However, I am convinced—through the study of the Word and pastoral life within the local church—that every endeavor to promote connection between God and his people is nothing short of participation in God’s intention for the universe.

Said another way: laboring towards genuine, God-besotted, gospel-community is laboring with the grain of the universe, not against it. And because this is true, our labors to cultivate this type of community are always deeply meaningful, whether we palatably perceive it in every moment or not.

Furthermore, in my experience, as summertime ends and the school year begins, people tend to be more inclined to involve themselves in this type of genuine, God-besotted, gospel-community in a local church. They sign up to serve in the nursery; they join the worship team; they commit to a small group Bible study. 

This year, in order to celebrate the beauty of these commitments and the reconciliation which was hard-won for us by Jesus Christ, I reworked a poem I wrote a few years ago. It’s called, “More Than Amnesty.”

Amnesty means one group has pardoned another group of wrongdoing. But amnesty doesn’t necessarily mean the two groups are now reconciled, and it certainly does not imply that they are friends; it merely means they are neutral.

In the gospel, we have far more than amnesty. Yes, God has pardoned, but the sacrificial death of the Son of God does not bring us into a neutral relationship with God, a merely pardoned relationship.

Rather, through the gospel, we are reconciled with God; we are made his friends; we become beloved sons and beloved daughters of God. That is more than amnesty. And this is what we were made for.

May God stir deeper longings in our hearts for this type of genuinely God-besotted, gospel-community. And may God enable our churches to make greater progress towards it.

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More Than Amnesty

In God’s likeness with no shame
Eve and Adam rule and reign
Stretching glory ‘cross the earth
‘til they doubted God’s great worth

Now scorched and frayed and fractured
Father’s connection shattered
Like concrete cracked with hammer
Change Garden’s bliss to clamor

A willful grab for power
Caused Paradise to sour
Now a fire guarded gate
None will circumnavigate

So flounder, flop, flail—long years
Try to fix, yet smudge and smears
To sin’s shackles bondage bound
With no way by man yet found

But wait, but wait, oh—but wait
upon us no crushing weight
Now the curse of sin undone
By the beauty of the Son

More than our forgiven debt
We have deepest longings met
More, more, more than amnesty
A blood adhered family

Restored, redeemed, reconciled
Children no longer exiled
Now, the Father holds us dear
“I will be your God,” we hear

[Photo by Christopher Michel / CC BY]