In order to more fully answer the last question that was posed in the previous post….”How was the Thief on the Cross Saved? (which the CoC cannot biblically answer)….Scripture reveals that he was saved the same way every Christian is saved…..by being brought to the end of himself and drawn by the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ as his only hope of Heaven.
To recap on what was revealed in the last post….
Although the CoC falsely teaches that the thief was “probably” saved due to being previously baptized by John the Baptist…..it also admittedly teaches that John’s baptism was obsolete after Jesus’ death.
And the thief died after Jesus!
Scripture reveals that the two thieves had their legs broken in order to speed up death, but not Jesus, for He had already died! So the thief on the cross was no longer under the Mosaic dispensation right before he died.
Jesus died before the thief, so the New Covenant was immediately in force upon the thief before he died!
“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Mt. 26:28, Heb. 9:16-17).
Again, what one will never hear in the CoC, is that both Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 reveal the fact that both criminals were joining in with the angry crowd to blaspheme and mock Jesus. Yet, God changed the heart of the one thief and brought him to repentance.
In Luke 23:39-40 when the one criminal continued to mock and ridicule Jesus, the other criminal had miraculously been given the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). As a result, he began to realize the depths of God’s holiness, in contrast to his own sinful depravity. He was finally enabled to come to a right assessment of his desperate need of the Savior, Whom he had finally been given faith in.
The thief’s desire to be remembered by Jesus, was a plea for mercy and an acknowledgement that Jesus did indeed have an eternal kingdom. He finally realized that his only hope was in God’s divine mercy, and that access to that mercy was only directly through Jesus Christ. He realized that he had nothing to commend himself to God. Contrary to the false teachings of the CoC, he never pleaded a prior baptism, or any other good works to try to commend himself to God.
In the CoC, we religiously tacked the name of Jesus on to the end of all our prayers, yet we were not taught what it really meant to pray in His name, that He was our only hope, our only access to God, that we can have direct access to God, through faith in Christ and in His finished work on the cross, and in His righteousness alone as our only hope of salvation.
Through Him, “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:2). “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18, KJV, emphasis mine).
Even the absence of physical water cannot keep us from the love of Christ and direct access to God through faith in Him (Rom. 8:35-39, Eph. 3:12). No external circumstance can prevent “whosoever will” from partaking of the Water of Life freely….by God’s grace alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
The CoC denomination (though it deceptively claims not to be one), teaches that it alone is “a place of sacramental encounter with God.” But true salvation is Not in its so-called “church membership package deal,” which comes with a load of legalistic luggage.
There are no fig leaves to gather in order to try to hide our sins, and no baptismal waters to swim through to get to Christ. There are no tedious tenets of legalistic patternism, no mechanical sacramentalism, no self-proclaimed hierarchy of power with the monopoly on salvation, no complicated steps, no baptismal mediators to go through, and no patterns to unpeel or perform to get to Christ.
There are not many ways to salvation, only one way. Jesus said He is the way. He never said that He merely paved a way through a pattern of performance or a lockstep, 5 step, check-off list.
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12).
Copyright ©2019 by Lee Anne Ferguson.