Sunday, February 27, 2022
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42,43 KJV).
Behold, the security this believing malefactor’s soul had!
I just read the biography of a celebrity atheist. He had grown up in a religious household, but eventually became a millionaire television journalist who unashamedly wrote newspaper columns to make fun of God. Moving from agnosticism (maybe there is a God) to atheism (there is no God), spiritual darkness gradually overwhelmed him. In real life, he was a cantankerous person, complaining about practically everything—from major to trivial matters. He had many fans, but rebuffed them when they met him in public and asked for his autograph. Overall, he was a miserable soul.
More recently, I watched an interview of him. Now in his 90s, nearing retirement, he was discussing his long life and extensive, successful career. He said he “hated” growing old. When asked whether or not he thought about death, he replied he “did not like [the idea].” Death “did not appeal to him at all.” Five weeks later, eternity kept him where death found him.
How dreadful it is, dear friends, when the aforementioned writer lived in the United States of America for nearly a century, with our millions of Bibles everywhere, and wound up in such dire spiritual ignorance! Not only had he ignored creation as evidence of the Creator (Romans 1:18-25), he also disregarded his conscience—that which gave him some sense of right and wrong, and had allowed him to see his failure to live up to all that he knew was right (Romans 2:14,15).
In the context of today’s Scripture, the believing “malefactor” (evildoer) crucified with Jesus recognized his sin problem. He knew the Lord was innocent, but he freely confessed he himself rightly deserved Rome’s capital punishment meted out to him (see verses 39-43). The criminal needed not hate death, for, he was told, his soul was “verily” (truly, certainly) in the Lord’s hands and would ultimately wind up in the Lord’s kingdom. If we have also trusted in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, that assurance is ours too (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 2 Timothy 4:18).
Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘haunt’ mean in the Bible?”