Topic: Luke 23:32 - 43
The thief on the cross - condemned by both God and man - was just hours away from death. But before he took his last breath, something glorious occurred. The criminal, in the very process of dying, was rescued by Jesus right in front of the mocking crowd. The thief's name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and all of heaven rejoiced. Jesus promised him a place in paradise in the presence of God.
On those three crosses at Calvary, one robber died in his sin. Another man, the Son of Man, died to pay the penalty for sin. And the third, also a thief, was redeemed from sin. His sin - debt was paid in full, and he became part of God's family.
But what evidence do we have that his deathbed conversion was real? First, there's his change in behavior. Initially, both thieves hurled insults and blasphemies against Jesus. In a total turnaround, the redeemed robber later chastised the first man for his words. (v. 40)
Second, the thief's admission of guilt is evidence of his conversion. He publicly acknowledged being justly punished for his wicked deeds. (v. 41)
The third piece of evidence is the robber's expression of faith in the Lord. The man called Jesus by name, acknowledged He was a king with a kingdom, believed there was life after death, and asked Jesus to rescue him.
The final evidence of his deathbed conversion is Jesus' promise to the thief. The Lord told him in Luke 23:43, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
Every one of us is just a heartbeat away from dying. It's a sobering thought that should lead you to examine your life. Are you part of God's family? Are you living to please Him?