How not to be saved.

Luke.23:43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Do we want proof that salvation is of grace and not of works? We have it in the case before us. The dying thief was nailed hand and foot to the cross.  He could do literally nothing for his own soul. Yet even he through Christ’s infinite grace was saved. No one ever received such a strong assurance of his own forgiveness as this man.

1.He could not work for his salvation.His hands were nailed to a cross. Titus.3:5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

2. He could not walk for his salvation. His feet were nailed to a cross. It is only after salvation that we experience walking in the Lord. Col.2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.

3.He could not worship for his salvation. Do we need proof that sacraments and ordinances are not absolutely needful for salvation, and that men may be saved without them when they cannot be had? The dying thief was never baptized, belonged to no visible church, and never received the Lord’s supper. But he repented and believed, and therefore was saved.(J.C.Ryle).

4.He could not wait for his salvation.Today is the day of salvation. Here is one who was saved at the last minute. One thief was saved that no sinner may despair, but only one, that no sinner may presume.

What he saw:

John Wesley once said, “Conversion is a work of God’s grace in the heart,” and nothing short of this can be conversion. It is a supernatural event resulting from a new vision.

1.He realized who Jesus was. “Lord,” he cried, “remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

2.He believed in the resurrection of Jesus.“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Dead men do not have kingdoms.

3.He saw Jesus as the redeemer.This man has done nothing amiss.”Lord, remember me.”

Jesus opened his heart and said, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.

There is a fountain filled with blood,

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day;

And there may I, though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.

Commentary on Luke 23:39-43.

John Trapp:

Verse 40. But the other answering rebuked him saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? Silent he was for awhile, and therefore seemed to consent; till hearing Christ’s prayer and the enemies’ outrages, he broke out into this brave confession, worthy to be written in letters of gold.

Verse 41.And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.This good thief, like the olive tree, bore fruit late, but great store of that which was excellent.
Verse.42.Remember me…By this penitent prayer he made his cross a Jacob’s ladder, whereby, the angels descended to fetch up his soul.
Verse.43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. See the infinite love of Christ to penitent sinners, in that when he hung upon a tree, and was praying dear for man’s sins, he rejected not this malefactor’s petition.Shall he not hear us now that all is paid and finished?

TODAY!! This is not everybody’s happiness. A pardon is sometimes given to one upon the gallows; but who so trust to that, the rope may be his hire.Most deal with repentance as country people do with physicians-love not have to do with till they feel they are gasping the last breath. The mole begins not to see till he be at the point of death.The serpent stretcheth not himself out straight till he hath received his death wound. But what if God should say to such lingerers, as the crab in the fable did to the dying serpent. “It’s too late now, you should have lived so.”

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