This is very personal for me, so if my emotions come out in my writing and my editing doesn't abrade them, please bear with me.
I've done some thinking about this word "exoneration." It all started when Ergun Caner was demoted from the deanship/presidency of Liberty Seminary, was seen by the review board of making factual statements that weren't factual, and yet was "exonerated" as claimed by his supporters like Norman Geisler, Peter Lumpkins and the bloggers at SBC Today. It never sounded like exoneration to me. It sounded like a way for Liberty University to get out without losing too much face.
Tuesday night, a dear friend faced down an accuser in a political setting. An independent audit was held and the results released. The quote from the auditor was telling: "The 71 accusations [against my friend] appear to be made up out of thin air." He went on to say that he found no wrongdoing and, actually, the more he looked the better the grade he gave. Tears were shed. Support was expressed. And even a few apologies were given.
Now THAT is exoneration.
And, at the risk of being the hyper-spiritual person I generally disdain, I thought about my life. I was not exonerated from anything. In fact, I was guilty of everything. But I was liberated from it all because someone else took the punishment I deserved. That person was Jesus. It happened on Good Friday. And I have never been the same since God made that real to me.