STUCK ON A TREE
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
If anything illustrates the the total inability of each individual, surely the two thieves nailed up beside Jesus do. Any good intentions they might have had were futile. They could do nothing. They were thieves. They were unbelievers and mockers and blasphemers. We know that because the Bible says, “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth,” (Matthew 27:38-44).
Was there any hope for these thieves? Not if salvation requires baptism or works of any kind for these men were dying. They had no time or opportunity for religious rituals. They had nothing to look forward to with hope or pleasure. But their conditions did not change them. They both mocked the Lord Jesus who was dying next to them.
But something happened to one thief which did not happen to the other one. The other one continued mocking the Lord Jesus. Both men were guilty of mocking the Lord Jesus in their unbelief. Yet the one thief rebuked the other, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” (Luke 23:40). What was it that made the difference? What gave the one the fear of God? What gave him faith in Christ so that he turned to the Lord? Why did he ask, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” (Luke 23:42).
With regard to what made him different we are reminded of 1 Corinthians 4:7 which explains it all to us by saying, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” There is the answer! There is what made the repentant thief different from the other thief and different from the chief priests, scribes, elders and other unbelievers who passed by that place. And if you are different from mere religionists – if you are a true believer - it is God who has made you different. It is God who has given you the gift of faith for Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [faith] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726