Wednesday, January 3, 2007

It can't be this simple!

Passage of Scripture, Luke 23:39-43

Luk 23:39
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself-and us, too, while you're at it!"
Luk 23:40
But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying?
Luk 23:41
We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong."
Luk 23:42
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
Luk 23:43
And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."

So many people misunderstand Gods love for us. They misunderstand His grace and forgiveness. They just don't believe salvation can be this simple. There must be more to it than this! Rules to obey, a certain way to live our life, things we can do to hopefully be good enough to earn our way into heaven. It's called legalism and legalism is a stumbling block. Legalism prevents us from realizing that when it comes to our salvation, there are no rules to follow. To be saved from a place called Hell where we're eternally separated from God simply means to believe that Jesus is who he says he is. To have faith that Jesus is the Son of God. The bible reminds us that the ways of God will seem foolish to those that do not know Him so it's no wonder that so many people just can't understand this. They lack faith.

One thief, made fun of Jesus. Mocked him and hurled insults at him. Told him if he was who he said he was he should save himself and the two of them as well. This thief for what ever reason had no faith. He didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah for a minute. I can only imagine how foolish he really thought Jesus was. All this talk about being the Son of God. Sure, prove it!

The other thief, believed Jesus to be who he said he was. He asked the other thief... "Don't you fear God, even when you're dying?" Then this thief says something that is most important. He acknowledges his sin. He says, we're getting what we deserve. we deserve to die because we're evil people, but this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong. The next words this thief says secures his salvation. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom. He called on Jesus to remember him, to not forget him, to never let him go.

Then came the promise... Jesus says... "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.

How do we get saved? We don't do anything to get saved. Jesus does it all! All that is required of us is to believe that God sent his Son Jesus to die for us to pay the penalty for our sins. When we acknowledge that we're sinners (like this thief did), and then call on Jesus to save us (like this thief did), He will assure us eternal life with Him in paradise (like he did for this thief.)

Final thoughts... Did this thief do anything to deserve to be with Jesus in heaven (paradise)? Did this thief attend church faithfully in order to hopefully gain favor with Jesus? Did this thief get baptised first before being allowed to spend eternity with Jesus? The answer of course, is no.

This is the simplest example I know of to show just how easy God has made it for us to spend eternity with Him. He loves us that much! It's a shame that we've made it so complicated.

Do you believe that you are a sinner? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God like he says he is? Do you have eternal life? This thief is your example of what to do. Trust in Jesus to save you and spend eternity with Him in Paradise!

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