This past Sunday I preached on the thief on the cross next to Jesus who placed his trust in Christ and was told “Today, you willl be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). I have already mentioned him on my blog last week right here–http://marcusbuckley.com/2010/11/17/reader-question-is-baptism-required-for-salvation/–but my friend and blog contributor Jim Groth has this to add:
Some thoughts came to me about the thief who went to heaven. First, I love this guy. His example is what makes the grace of God so appealing. He shows us how simple it is without complicated theological adornments and religiosity. Just think about him.
He never read the New Testament.
He was not baptized.
He never took the Lord’s Supper.
He had no concern about end-times philosophies.
He never asked for forgiveness.
He was such a bad criminal he was crucified.
He was not a member of any church.
He never walked down an aisle.
He never said the “Sinner’s Prayer.”
He never asked Jesus to come into his life or heart.
He never vocally confessed his sins.
He never memorized any scriptures.
He never did any “religious” things.
What he did have was a change of heart and trust in Jesus. Repentance and faith.
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It’s that simple.