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What the Dying Thief Knew
Charles Pinkney

Luke 23:40.
But the other answering rebuked him, saying,
Do you not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds:

but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42) And he said (pleaded) unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say to you, Today you will be with me in paradise.

In these closing hours of the church age it is more important than ever to understand the mystery of salvation. Church doctrine has done so much to confuse the matter, substituting dogma and duty as the manner of becoming a redeemed “child of God.” It is the Holy Bible which reveals the truth about this mystery of the ages. The wise and learned are among those who are deceived by the teachings of human authorities and theologians. The first century true apostles understood that there would be false teachers and false prophets in the latter days and that they would reject the “way of truth.”

The account of the dying thieves crucified with Jesus, reveals essential insights into the way of salvation and entering into Eternal Life.

There are millions who face imminent death every day, great numbers have not experienced the miracle of salvation. (link) The consequences of our choices in regard to “eternity” are no different than that facing the two malefactors who died at Jesus’ side two thousand years ago.

“Malefactors” is a generic term meaning that the two beside Jesus had done bad things in their lives. Although not described in detail, they both deserved death and damnation. Though our sins may not be as notable, there is no difference between us and them, it is only a matter of degree.

These two men exemplify everyone alive today. We are not all thieves or murderers but we all have come short of living a perfect sinless life. (Romans 3:23) Therefore, without our sins being forgiven and the price for our disobedience dealt with, we remain subject to judgment and damnation.

I know this sounds unjust or unreasonable to the modern secular or religious mind. A priest can not intervene with a last rite ordained by religious authority. Emergent Christianity has entered the religious arena in the past 20 or 30 years. These teachers have adopted a theology that departs from the biblical doctrine of “Judgment” toward the pleasant view of a god within and a heaven for all. A holy God demands a penalty of judgment for any and all transgressions. Only the sinless Son of God could pay the penalty for us. This is what is revealed in the Bible.

This takes us back to the cross upon which Jesus died. Jesus died for the ungodly. It was for this purpose he was born! He was crucified on a cross meant for another man, Barabas, a notable sinner and lawbreaker accused of murder and insurrection. I believe that Barabas exemplifies each of us, human souls in a fallen state unable to determine the way of Truth and living only to gratify one’s selfish desires.

What the Dying Thief Knew

1. That he was a man who had done evil things and feared facing God.

2. That he was facing a just sentence of death for his deeds.

3. That Jesus was a man who had done nothing (no sin) deserving death.

4. That Jesus was certainly the Messiah and God’s Son.

5. That Jesus was ordained to have an eternal Kingdom.

6. That Jesus had the authority to grant pardon to a sinful man when asked.

7. That heaven, paradise, would be his reward that very day.

Additional Topics for Understanding

June 28, 2018