DISCOVERING A
LIVING FAITH
studies in scripture by David and Renée
Sanford




back to
Biblical Studies


















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Like the Dying Thief
I trust God today and receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God forever.

The young man leaned over the bed, his strong hands surrounding the old man’s frail ones. “Do you believe Jesus died for you, Grandpa? Do you want to put your trust in Him?” The old man nodded his head and gave up his lifelong antagonism toward his Creator. He whispered, “Yes, I do want Jesus to be my Savior.” His head fell back on the pillow and a few hours later he slipped into the presence of the Lord. Once again, God’s mercy pursued a man right to death’s door. With simple faith, that old man was instantly snatched from possible judgment and shortly thereafter entered into eternal life.

The thief hung contorted and writhing for breath on a Roman cross. Anger and hatred raged in his bursting heart. Until he realized whom the man was hanging beside him. Was it something Jesus said or the sheer presence of God that convinced him? The thief quieted down, had a complete change of heart, and offered an amazing prayer to the one dying beside him.

Jesus gave the thief his simple request—and more! “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” There was no time for probation or restitution for this man, but salvation came immediately. Right then Jesus was paying for his sins. That day Jesus would walk with him in Paradise!

Scripture makes it clear that Jesus welcomes you and me into his family the moment we believe. The transfer is swift and sure—whether we live on earth another fifty years or enter heaven within a few thousand more heartbeats.

Augustine once observed, “There is one case of death-bed repentance recorded, that of the penitent thief, that none should despair; and only one that none should presume.”

Why put off trusting Jesus for a day longer? Now is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).



FURTHER STUDY: The thief on the cross was dying a horrible death, crucifixion, the primary method of capital punishment among the Persians, Seleucids, Jews, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD.
The condemned man was usually whipped and forced to drag the crossbeam to where the upright was standing. His hands were tied or nailed to the crossbeam, which was attached to the upright 9–12 ft (2.5–3.5 m) above the ground, and his feet bound or nailed to the upright. Death was by heart failure or asphyxiation. Political or religious agitators and those without civil rights were crucified. Its overwhelming association today is with Jesus. Crucifixion was abolished by Constantine I in AD 337 after his conversion to Christianity. See also stigmata.

Detail from painting by Hubert and/or Jan van Eyck, c. 1420

back

This excerpt is from the Living Faith™ Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)
Copyright © 2003, 2000 David and Renée Sanford

"There was no time for probation or restitution for this man, but salvation came immediately. Right then Jesus was paying for his sins. That day Jesus would walk with him in Paradise!"

want to tell someone about these studies?
fill out the form below and hit "send" and we'll send them the web link in an e.mail

friend's name:
friend's e-mail address:
your name: