How you ever considered how the thief on the cross could fit into any main-line church theology today?
The odds of him ever claiming salvation certainly would have been stacked against him.
- He never experienced baptism.
- He never experienced communion.
- He was never confirmed.
- He never experienced speaking in tongues.
- He couldn’t even fold his hands or bend his knees to pray.
- He didn’t say the sinner’s prayer.
He was unable in his timing and circumstances to follow any church tradition.
And… He was a thief receiving the just consequences of the law of his people.
- Jesus didn’t take away his pain he was feeling on the cross.
- He didn’t miraculously heal his body,
- He didn’t take away his fear of dying (that we read of).
Yet, this thief walked into paradise the same hour as Jesus simply by believing.
He had nothing to offer to the Lord other than saying Jesus was who He said he was to those that could hear his faint voice.
In the middle of his intense pain, as the crowd yelled insults at Jesus and the other thief mocked Him as well, this man simply looked over to his Savior and said…
Luke 23:40-42 (CSB) 40 – Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom. What little he was able to speak from his agonizing pain just before dying was his way of saying “I believe”. Is there a purer form of the Gospel?
John 3:16 (KJV) – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.