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Why was the thief on the cross saved ?

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  • Why was the thief on the cross saved ?

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    Philip Yancey is quoted above as claiming - "the thief had converted out of plain fear". Is this true ? Or was the thief saved for some other reason.

    Now Yancey is certainly correct in saying that the thief was saved by grace and grace alone.

    Let is first examine the passage about the thief on the cross:

    Luke 23 NIV

    39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

    40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    The thief confesses his sin - We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.

    But then declares that Jesus is without fault - But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    Quite a statement considering that the leaders of the church in Israel had stated that Jesus deserved to die for blasphemy. But the thief stands against their judgement of Jesus and states that Jesus has " done NOTHING wrong."

    Even further the thief says this to Jesus - “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    Now Jesus is hanging on a cross and no one stopped this from taking place. So who would even think that Jesus was not going to die. The thief must have had something revealed to him by The Holy Spirit.

    The thief must be saying that Jesus will rise from the dead and inherit His Kingdom. Was there even one other person in all of Israel that knew this about Jesus ? It seems the thief is declaring that Jesus is Lord.

    Truly these words of The Lord are true:

    Matthew 20: 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” - Certainly the leaders were first, but would go to destruction and be last. The thief , who had been last all of this life, would be enter the Kingdom ahead of them.

    Certainly God does not reveal mysteries to those who seek knowledge for their own gain. But God reveals mysteries to those who seek to know Him.
    Last edited by Lou Newton; April 18th, 2019, 12:23 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Lou Newton View Post
    Image may contain: text

    Philip Yancey is quoted above as claiming - "the thief had converted out of plain fear". Is this true ? Or was the thief saved for some other reason.

    Now Yancey is certainly correct in saying that the thief was saved by grace and grace alone.

    Let is first examine the passage about the thief on the cross:

    Luke 23 NIV

    39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

    40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    The thief confesses his sin - We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.

    But then declares that Jesus is without fault - But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    Quite a statement considering that the leaders of the church in Israel had stated that Jesus deserved to die for blasphemy. But the thief stands against their judgement of Jesus and states that Jesus has " done NOTHING wrong."

    Even further the thief says this to Jesus - “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    Now Jesus is hanging on a cross and no one stopped this from taking place. So who would even think that Jesus was not going to die. The thief must have had something revealed to him by The Holy Spirit.

    The thief must be saying that Jesus will rise from the dead and inherit His Kingdom. Was there even one other person in all of Israel that knew this about Jesus ? It seems the thief is declaring that Jesus is Lord.

    Truly these words of The Lord are true:

    Matthew 20: 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” - Certainly the leaders were first, but would go to destruction and be last. The thief , who had been last all of this life, would be enter the Kingdom ahead of them.

    Certainly God does not reveal mysteries to those who seek knowledge for their own gain. But God reveals mysteries to those who seek to know Him.
    Respectfully, that guy sounds like a religious goofball who only selectively pays attention to what he reads. The thief on the cross knew full well that his daddy had come to save him, and he had this opportunity to take it.

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    • #3
      Glen sent me this email:
      Glen B Smith
      To:Lou Newton

      Apr 19 at 1:56 AM

      Philip Yancey became a well-known Christian author in 1988 with the publication ofDisappointment With God. He has written about 45 books. Much of his earlier books speak to the nominal Christian. I read him as making the case that it is acceptable for a Christian to be a nominal Christian or to have a weak faith. To be fair, I have not read his books published after about 1990. I do not recommend his books even though his writing is excellent.

      The point Philip Yancey makes about the thief on the cross calling out to the Lord Jesus out of fear makes more of the story than does the Bible. Yancey does this often in the books I have read. The way Lou addresses this issue is a much better option because at the point of actually being crucified there would remain dread, but it seems fear would have given way to the inevitable.

      That the thief references “kingdom” reveals his expectation that Jesus is the messiah. Only kings have kingdoms and the expectation of the times was for the messiah to establish His kingdom. Even the apostles were continuing to misunderstand the messianic kingdom as an earthly one as the Lord Jesus ascended to the Father (Acts 1). It is the most remarkable faith that the unworthy thief would ask the Lord Jesus, hanging on a Roman cross, to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. Lou must be correct, the thief is seeing what is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

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