Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other [criminal], rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we received the due reward for our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Lk 23:39-43
People of the world don’t understand this scripture. Then don’t think its right that a man can be a bad person his whole life and then turn to the Lord right before he dies and be saved. But despite the world’s protests, he can.
A good way to see this would be to think of two men lost at sea, floating on boards. One man is found right away and taken to safety, but the second man floats for days without food or water. Then, right before he perishes from the heat of the sun and the lack of food and water, he is found and saved. Both men are saved from the same fate, but it happens that one is just ‘barely saved,’ if you will, before he perishes. Even so, some of us are saved early in life, but others continue in the world, lost, before they finally come to their senses. The Lord is glad to have both, and the angels rejoice whether we are saved early in life or towards then end.
Because of backward thinking people, I must clarify this a little bit. Some people could interrupt this in such a way that they say, “Well then, I can just live like the devil now and get saved right before I die.” People who think such things should consider these points:
– Living that way is like walking a tight rope over a pit of spikes while the wind is blowing and the devil is throwing rocks. You can’t know the day of your death, whether it will be sooner or later. A wise person prepares ahead of time for the uncertainties of life.
– People who think that way have the false idea that living in sin is better than living for God. They have the false notion that God is boring and the devil is fun. It’s not true! The world is full of heartache and let-down. Only God can fulfill the deep desires of our hearts. There is nothing better then serving the Lord and I would still do it whether there was a heaven or not.
– People who think that way are missing out on the purpose and plan that God has for their life. God has a destiny for you that is waiting to be fulfilled, but will not be if you are running from God and not to God. With God you can change the world and help those in need.
The bible says, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” (Ecc 12:1)
Living the life of sin will bring the difficult days that will not be fun. The highs of youthfulness will fade away and a stream of regret will flood your soul. You’ll beat your chest and say, “How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! (Pr 5:12).” God will save you if you cry out to him, even if it is on your deathbed, but he won’t be able to give you back the years that you wasted away.
We should turn to God now, no matter where we are in life. Let God use you for the years that you have left. Every day can be purpose filled and useful to the Master.