And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise. (Luke 23:39-43)
One thief trusted himself and mocked Jesus as the Messiah who was to save Israel, asking to be delivered from his punishment. The other, knowing his sins had brought him to this place of condemnation and that he would soon face God in judgment, turned to Jesus in faith and repentance and received eternal life. Each had a choice to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and receive His great Salvation and each was given that which he chose. One thief only saw this life and rejected Jesus, and being condemned already faced judgment, while the other under conviction rejected his sin and turned to God and His grace. The Righteous Judge, who gave Himself for our sin, acknowledged the faith of the repentant thief and received Him unto Himself.
For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, not just an affirmation of the reality of Jesus but in repentance and faith in His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary and as Saviour and Lord, we too have been delivered from sin and given eternal life. Not a life everlasting which begins when we die, but a new life in Christ the moment we believe and repent of our sins and turn to God for Salvation. He alone can save and only His grace through saving faith in His Word will usher us into His presence. All of man’s attempts to gain paradise any other way are foolishness and deceptions which turn men from the Truth of Scripture and from true religion which worships the God of Heaven, who alone is worthy of our praise and worship. The Father who sent the Son desires true worship and for all to receive Jesus, the Son of God who is God the Son. The Spirit of God draws all men unto the Father and points all who will hear Him to the Son that whosoever will may receive Jesus Christ and be saved, just as the repentant thief was that very day. The Righteous Son who sent the Spirit to equip His saints and sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven has paid our sin debt in His own body on that tree and provided eternal life to all who will repent and receive it.
While we are here, God has sent those of us who are His saints and know Him out into this world to reach the lost that they might be saved from sin. He desires that His people strive to be holy and obedient unto Him that we might minister to those around us who are hurting and in need as He provides. We serve others, equipped with the Word of reconciliation and righteousness, rightly divided and fitly spoken, that they may see Christ in us, the hope of Glory. Our God has commanded us to love one another with an unfeigned love, even as He first loved us, and to disciple one another in the Word of God so that we may all grow in grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our Lord has commissioned those who are His with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to go where He sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and reconciliation with the Father through faith in His Son, that those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God might have life in His Name.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. God calls you to faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary to pay your sIn debt. He has provided the only way of reconciliation with God, forgiveness from God, and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.