The Good News That Gives Us The Greatest Hope
from Luke 23: 39-43
Here’s how a thief (death-sentenced criminal) was totally forgiven, and amazingly entered the Presence of the Perfect Being. There are three things he did.
While hanging on the cross,
Criminal 1: “Are You not the Christ (Savior/Messiah)? Save Yourself and us!!!” (v.40)
Criminal 2: rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
I. First, the thief Feared God.
In verse 40, the criminal who hated God all his life by stealing and killing people and disobeying and hurting His Creator had now feared the One who is rightly to be feared.
Then he said, “we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” (v.41)
II. Second, He Admitted He Deserves Penalty
In verse 41, the criminal acknowledged he deserves to die because of his deeds. “The penalty of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We need to see that the only thing we justly deserve is the wrath and condemnation of God. Everything above death is purely mercy and grace because He is a God of grace.
And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in to Your kingdom!” (v.42)
III. Third, He Trusted Christ alone to Save Him
In verse 42, the thief trusted Christ to save him and to bring Him to eternal life. At his last breath, he threw himself to the mercy that is found in Christ alone. He did not trust his religion, nor himself, nor any idol/person. Christ alone can save and satisfy.
And Christ said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (v.43)
There’s no other better news to hear in this life than to be forgiven from all our wrongs, be declared free and clean, and be accepted by the Most Awesome Being in to His Most Awesome abode.
The thief repented, turned to Christ, believed. God loves sinners if we turn to Him. He shall not reject us.