I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43 NIV). These parting words, spoken by the Savior as He hung on the cross between two criminals, were spoken only to one of them. What about the other one? Instead of acknowledging the Savior, the other criminal chose to insult Him: “Aren’t You the Christ? Save Yourself and us” (Lk. 23:39). With this attitude, in the last moment of his life, this unrepentant one exposed the true state of his heart, and sealed his eternal destiny. Rather than confess his sins and cast himself on the mercy of the Savior, he chose to identify with the condemning mob, the rulers and the soldiers who jeered, “Let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One” (Lk. 23:35).
Meanwhile, the other criminal was doing just the opposite. Confessing his sins he said, “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this Man has done nothing wrong” (Lk. 23:41). Then begging for mercy he said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” The last words he heard in this life were the best anyone could ever hear: “today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Like these two criminals, when we come to the cross, we are confronted by our sins, our need for the Savior and a choice. Have your sins brought you to the cross? Have you met the Savior personally? Have you chosen to take advantage of the free gift of eternal life which He offers? If not, we urge you to do so right now, while you still can. If you need more information to help you decide, we can give it to you.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org