The Thief On The Cross And What It Really Means To Be Saved

Paul Luckett | - The Thief On The Cross And What It Really Means To Be Saved

I am so thankful for the cross because religious people try to complicate salvation and create hoops for people to jump through, but the cross demonstrates the simplicity of Christ.

At the cross we find astonishingly simple clarity.

Namely, the salvation of the thief on the cross, where Jesus saves a convicted sinner in his dying moments.

There is no time for religion, no perfectly worded expression of faith, no baptism, no works, no apparent fruit in that moment.

Yet, the thief was saved.

All of our theology has to square with this fact.

I draw many things from it but the one that’s heaviest on my heart right now is grace.

What’s displayed gloriously in the interaction between Jesus and the dying thief is grace.

Not grace in the sense of leniency or merely benevolence, but grace in the sense of the sovereign, unmerited, unassisted work of God.

God does it all.

The thief was mocking Jesus along with the crowd that was crucifying Jesus and him! But, at some point something changed.

I believe what Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3:8 happened here,
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I believe the Holy Spirit gave the thief ears to hear and eyes to see and at that moment he was allowed to see Who was hanging next to him.

Above Jesus’s head was written, “King of the Jews” (John 19:21) but the thief was allowed to see that He was not just an earthly king, He was the King of a Kingdom not of this world –a kingdom where the thief wanted to be.

“Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.'” -Luke 23:42

And Jesus responds,
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
-Luke 23:43

God does it all.

We like the thief are dying.

Sin is the disease that’s killing us.

We were without hope until Hope was revealed –hope established before the world was.

God had the Cure.
He promised the Cure.
He showed us the formula of the Cure (but even with that we could not grasp it).
He gave us the ability to receive (perceive) the Cure.
He gave us the Cure.
He is the Cure.
He heals us through the Cure.
The Cure is Jesus Christ.


All the thief did was not reject it.

I feel led to take a moment and ask why would he [reject it]? At this point he has nothing to lose.

God had to bring me to such a point –of utter brokenness and despair where I had nothing else to lose. Very often it’s comfort, wealth or even just sufficiency -life being “good enough”, that’s deceiving us, holding us back and that causes us to fail to see our desperate need for Jesus.

I implore you, don’t be proud like I was, I would spare you that pain!

Humble yourself and seek the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord while He may be found!

With a humble heart, petition the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear as He’s done for the thief on the cross.

Look upon Jesus, hear Him through the Word, believe and be saved.


God does it all.

All the thief did was not reject it.

The clarifying message of the salvation of the thief on the cross was that God does it all. Salvation is a gift that we simply receive –a gift that is imparted when we accept Jesus as He really is, just as the thief on the cross saw Him.

Dear brother, formerly called the thief on the cross, what did you see?

“I am a sinner, justly condemned (Luke 23:40-41), but this man is what is spoken of Him even though I may not know what that fully means: the Christ, King of The Jews (Luke 23:35-39), a King of a Kingdom that is not of this world –a kingdom where I want to be, He is One who will live again and who can make me live again (Luke 23:42).”

I love a commentary by Pastor Alistair Begg on the matter: “The thief enters heaven and he is asked about how he got there and what he knows about this doctrine or that and the thief replies, ‘All I know is that the Man on the middle cross said I could come.'”


The thief did everything that is necessary to be saved: He did not reject the grace God made available through Jesus Christ.

Right now, Jesus Christ, the grace and salvation of God, is being presented to you.

All you have to do is not reject it.

Accept it. Believe Jesus. Be saved.

I conclude with a caution: the thief did all that was necessary to be saved and enter life, yet their is so much more to be had. He was like a baby that was born but who’s earthly body was immediately aborted.

Yes, by all means, enter life BUT DON’T STOP THERE.

There is more life to be had.

Let us who live also continue on to maturity, enjoying and exercising the grace of God to His glory for all of our days.

Don’t live a minimal life.

Enter by grace.
Continue in grace.
Grow in grace.

Amazing Grace.

#grace #resurrection #ressurectionsunday

Leave a Reply

Allowed HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>