"I WANT TO BE SAVED LIKE THE THIEF ON THE CROSS!"
1. The thief on the cross who was saved by Jesus has been appealed to by many in an effort to justify salvation by faith only apart from water baptism.
2. There is nothing said of the thief having been baptized before the cross.
3. How should we view this event? How does it affect the way people are saved today?
I. DEATH OF JESUS AMONG THIEVES FULFILLED PROPHECY - Isa. 53:12
(Mk. 15:27-28; Lk. 22:37).
A. Thieves Received Just Punishment ("transgressor," Lk. 23:41).
B. At First, Both Thieves Reproached Jesus - Matt. 27:44.
1. Change of heart - Lk. 23:39-41. (Repentance)
2. Requested blessing (be remembered in kingdom) - Lk. 23:42.
3. Saved because of his changed heart (repentance) & stated faith! - Lk. 23:43
II. THOSE WHO MAKE THIS APPEAL ARE ARGUING FROM THE SILENCE OF THE
A. We Don't Have To Prove The Thief Was Baptized, Because:
1. While on earth Jesus often forgave sins as He saw fit -- He is God! (Lk. 5:20-21; 7:47).
2. Salvation of the thief occurred before the death of Christ on the cross (under law of Moses)!
B. Those Who Deny Baptism & Use This Approach Must Prove Thief Was Not Baptized! (1 Ths. 5:21) [They assume what they cannot prove, then argue from silence that it is not necessary!]
1. John baptized many - Matt. 3:5-6.
2. Jesus baptized more - Jno. 4:1-2.
III. AN ATTEMPT TO DENY CLEAR BIBLE TEACHING - Mk.16:16; Acts
2:38; 22:16; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21.
-To use the thief as a lone exception to gospel obedience (baptism) admits that those converted by gospel preaching after the cross were baptized! [Acts - (Acts 8:12-13; 8:36-39; 10:48; 16:15; 16:33; 18:8; 22:16)].
IV. THE THIEF LIVED & DIED UNDER THE OT LAW.
A. The OT Law Did Not Command The Gospel Plan Of Salvation.
1. Heb. 7:12 - The law changed.
2. Heb. 9:15-17 - NT became effective with His death.
B. Thief Lived Under Different Law - One We Cannot Appeal To For Our Salvation - Col. 2:14-15; Rom. 7:4.
1. Shall we reject the necessity of the blood of Christ, too (Lk. 5:20-21)? Of confession of faith? Believe in resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 10:9)? The ability of Gentiles being covenant people (Eph. 2:12)
2. Futile attempt to support a human doctrine of salvation!
V. CHRIST HAD AUTHORITY WHILE ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS - Lk.
A. He Dispensed His Power & Blessings As He Saw Fit!
1. cf. Matt. 19:21 - Placed a condition on young man: Sell all & give to poor. (Why not be saved like rich young ruler?!)
2. While on earth, Jesus dispensed His goods (forgiveness) as He chose.
3. After His death, His will (testament) was put into effect - His blessings are bestowed only according to the terms of His will - Heb. 9:16-17.
B. Today, Same Requirements Of All - Acts 10:34-35.
1. One plan - Rom. 1:16-17.
2. "Every one of you" - Acts 2:38.
VI. WHAT IS THE PARADISE JESUS PROMISED? - Lk. 23:43
A. Paradise: Place of Comfort & Rest.
1. Oriental word, first used by the historian Xenophon to denote "the parks of Persian kings & nobles." (Vine, 457)
2. Place of comfort, rest & leisure - " to the oriental mind it expressed the sum total of blessedness." (Ibid.)
B. "Today" - At Death, Jesus Went To Hades - Lk. 23:46; Acts 2:27, 31.
1. Realm of departed spirits - Lk. 16:22-25.
2. Jesus gave thief assurance of comfort following torment of the cross - Salvation! The thief & Jesus went to place of comfort in Hades after they died.
1. Rather than trying to escape obedience to Christ's plan of salvation, yield to it and be saved by faithfully obeying His will!
2. Until you find yourself living under the OT law, hanging on a cross next to Jesus: H-B-R-C-B -- Saved!