Summary: Salvation is God’s gracious gift offered to all broken people to deliver from the penalty and punishment of falling short of His demand for moral perfection.
Christ, the Divider
Salvation is God’s gracious gift offered to all broken people to deliver from the penalty and punishment of falling short of His demand for moral perfection. ?
This text affirms three great biblical truths:
1. We are saved in a moment of time.
2. We are saved apart from church membership or baptism.
3. We are saved from a life displeasing to God
The standard of God (impossible to attain) should make us long for the grace of God (impossible to earn)!
The thief who was lost teaches us:
1. We die the same way we live.
?2. We can be close to the Savior and still die lost.
3. We can ask to be saved but still die lost.
The thief who was saved taught us:
1. We need to confess our sinful state.
2. We need to ask for God’s grace.
3. We need to believe in the resurrection.
In his sweeping book, The Case for Christ (pic), self-proclaimed atheist and award winning Chicago Tribune columnist, Lee Strobel chronicles his journey from unbelief to faith in this man known as Jesus of Nazareth. His wife had become a Christ-follower and it so angered him, that he set out to disprove the literal death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But as he dove into the evidence and consulted with world renown specialists, by the way, many of them atheists or agnostics, in fields like biology, medicine,…., he came to the only rational and logical conclusion: Jesus did in fact die, He was in fact buried for a period of 3 days, and He did actually come back to life. ? This is resurrection Sunday. Favorite day of the year. But I don’t want us to get the cart before the horse. I don’t want us to lose track of the sequencing. Before Jesus walked out of the tomb on that first Easter morning—He had to die.? Why did Jesus have to die? His close friend, Simon Peter put it this way, “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18
Leave that up there. Notice the atonement language—suffered for sins once and for all. From the moment Adam and Eve decided they knew better than God, the shedding of blood has been necessary to wipe clean or cancel the effects of sin. This is why animal sacrifice was instituted, to remind the faithful that their sin rendered them unrighteous before God and worthy of His judgment. Anthropologists find this in almost all ancient cultures as well. There is some element in humans that causes us to instinctively try to atone for our sins. This is why Jesus died. Notice the comparative language: the righteous for the unrighteous. Jesus, being fully human and fully divine, was sinless. That qualified Him to be the perfect sacrifice; the righteous for the unrighteous; the one rightly related to God for the ones who are unrightly related to God. This is why Jesus died. And then notice the relational and redemptive language: that He might bring you to God.” Separated from God because of our sin, Jesus entered into our existence for one purpose: to reunite us with our Maker and the Lover of our souls.? This is not just an historical fact. You know, Something we can believe happened like the Battle of Waterloo or Bruce Jenner’s sex change. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is not just an historical fact. Unfortunately, many of us believe it happened, but we have not let that change our lives and our eternities. For many of us, our belief is only a head knowledge, not genuine biblical, life changing, eternity-altering faith.? So I want us to spend some time this morning contemplating the cross. Turn with me to Luke 23:32-43. If you don’t have a Bible, we have free ones at the doorways you are welcome to them. Also, the words will be on the screen for you. (Luke 23:32-43 on screen)