10/25/1998 6:00 PM
The picture of Calvary. Three men on crosses at a place not desirable. The crowd mocked Christ. Those that rejected Christ are still looking for him today. Two criminals' actions are of interest here. One chose to join the mob... he followed the crowd. The other chose to go against the crowd... he knew he was a criminal and he knew there was a God. The first thief had no fear of God. Likewise, some people today also have no fear of God. The other thief recognized that he was facing God. He came to a place of repentance there on that cross. He realized, "I'm gonna be facing God shortly... and you know... we all will be facing God shortly... not necessarily today or tomorrow, but shortly. He acknowledged his guilt, that his punishment was just. And God would be just to send all sinners... all of us who were sinners had not Christ paid our debt as well... to hell. A sinner that covers his sins will not prosper. You have much more hope when one can acknowledge things as they are. The one thief encouraged the other thief to stop and consider. Could the crowd help him? Will the sinful crowd help us when we stand before God? The second thief had faith. He wasn't in a place where exercising faith was easy. He was at the point where even the disciples had forsaken Jesus. There on the cross he saw something in Jesus that inspired his faith. He recognized that Christ wasn't a criminal. He believed amidst the curses and shame and rejection. Jesus inspired his faith. There's no reason why we shouldn't exercise faith in Christ. He saw something different about Christ. He believed that Christ had a kingdom and that he could save. He said, "Lord, remember me when you come to your kingdom." If we get our eyes on Jesus we can still believe even when circumstances aren't the most favorable. This thief wasn't looking for a miracle or anything like that... just "let me have a part." His prayer was heard and answered. Our prayers, too, are heard and answered by God if we ask in faith. Christ had not said a word in his own defense, but he was quick to speak a word to save. Salvation is an instantaneous work... "TODAY" Christ heard this sinner's cry and answered immediately. It was salvation by grace. He was saved through repentance and grace. We don't teach that we earn our salvation. When we say people are saved by grace... we don't say that people still live in sin. It just follows that it is just natural for that one to do the will of God. We won't build up the grace of God by diminishing the power of God. His grace is so great that the power of sin is broken and we don't have to sin anymore. It is a new creature. We expect to see a changed life, not a continuation of the bondage of sin. He had power to not just deliver from the guilt of sin, but from the power of sin. Through a simple description, it shows forth the power of salvation. Salvation is for our day. We can still be saved by his instantaneous grace working on our soul. We can come boldly to God today. It's a wonderful plan for even today.