This week, God put the story of the two thieves at the crucifixion on my heart. I’m not sure why yet, but I feel compelled to share.
I read the story in Luke 23:39-43. One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal protested. “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.”
What stood out to me was that the “good” thief acknowledged he was a guilty sinner deserving of death, but that Jesus was the innocent, unblemished lamb. He accepts that he will die due to his sins, but asks Jesus to save his soul.
What awesome faith!!! The scoffing thief was only worried about his body and saving himself from death. But the thief with faith was instead worried about his immortal soul.
We as Christians must acknowledge that we are guilty and deserving of death for our many sins. We must repent and ask the Holy Spirit to sanctify us from within as we resolve to sin no more. Then we must believe that Jesus, who gave his life for us, has the power to grant us eternity in Heaven because he has defeated sin and death. Though our physically body will die, Jesus has ensured a pathway for our soul to enter Heaven.
We pray for our resurrection which Jesus promised us. The old has died and behold, all things are made new! When we are born again of the Holy Spirit and God will bestow upon us justification.
The faithful thief readily accepted his physical death, knowing that God had the power to prevent his spiritual death. So too should we focus on our spiritual life and distance ourself from the world and its empty promises. Only then can we begin our new life with God.
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