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Malefactor on the Cross Luke 23

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 1, 2010


KJV Luke 23:39-43
39. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41. And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

I have heard the story of the thief on the cross repeated dozens of times. Each time the same assumption is reported. It has been said so many times people began to think it was written in the scriptures. I have even repeated it myself on a number of occasions. The thief on the cross is an illustration showing no one has to do a thing to enter into paradise.

It’s true, the thief hung on a cross next to Jesus. There was little he could have done to save his soul. He was in no position to help the poor, pay tithe, or any of the little things we accuse people of doing in an attempt to work their way into Heaven. From the text it is certain he did not keep the law. We see no evidence he even makes an attempt to amend for his sins. But he does confess his sin. He admits he and his fellow thief are being punished for their crimes. And then we see the, “but.” A little word God often insets into a passage to point to a change of thought, a continuation or explanation of the previous thought. In this case the, “but” introduces a new action. The thief is witnessing.

Now the question is put to the test. Do we believe the many sermons preached on this text, or do we believe what is written? The thief on the cross confessed his sin and witnessed, Jesus is the Son of God. The choice is yours. How safe do you feel, doing nothing to enter into paradise?

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