DYING THIEF FAITH
The dying thief that called upon the Lord Jesus Christ in his last moments exhibited that one evidence of the new birth, God-given faith! Faith in Christ alone! He looked to a man who not only appeared outlwardly as one like himself but who also in that hour was hanging on a cross, hand and feet nailed to it and dying like himself. A man rejected and scorned by all around him including the other thief. A man mocked especially as a king, crowned with a crown of thorns, a reed scepter and scarlet robe. To this Man, the Man Christ Jesus, in spite of all these things, he pleads, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Luke 23:42) There is spiritual recognition of Christ as He is, the King of kings! He knows now that He is the Lord. He sees Him for what He is by faith because Christ has revealed Himself to him. In the darkest hours, when there is no other hope and he obviously is nothing and can do nothing. He has no other evidence that he is a true believer. No other evidence that he is an object of the electing grace of God, that he is one of God’s beloved children. Yet he is enabled of God to manifest the faith of God’s elect: CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST! He says, “remember me WHEN you come into your kingdom.” There is no “if” or other possibilities. It is WHEN! You are dying but you shall rise again and successfully have accomplished all that you purposed to accomplish in death, “perform the MERCY” promised. You will be victorious in all that you do and will rise again and be glorified as the KING over your kingdom. Oh, he cries, “Remember ME” when you do! This is the cry and confidence of faith. We do not find assurance any where else, in any thing else but Christ and His and successfully finished work. We believe that Christ did not fail in the work of salvation and we look to Him alone for mercy. God’s elect, like this thief, find no one else to go to: “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:67-69) Faith is marked by confidence that Christ has finished the work of righteousness and we do not look any where else for evidence. We believe and are sure that He is the Christ! If we seek evidence in anything else, we do not have faith.
ARROGANT PRESUMPTION! (John 19:30)
When our Lord hung in agonies and blood on the cursed tree, He cried with a loud voice, “IT IS FINISHED!” One would think that such a statement made by the very Son of God would carry a reasonable weight. Yet, there are those who proclaim that the work is not truly finished unless they give their nod of faith which miraculously makes the work really effectual. Setting aside that such thinking is utterly foolish, consider, for a moment, the arrogant presumption of such an incredible notion. Apply this convoluted musing to any other finished work.
Go to a contractor after he has finished a building and is getting ready to turn the key … stand before him, and in your most audacious voice, say “Wait a minute, it is not finished unless I believe it is finished!”
Go to the composer who has spent his life in pursuit of the classic score. After he has signed his masterpiece and the conductor is about to wave his baton … stand up in the audience and cry in your most pompous voice “I have something to say about this so-called finished symphony. It is not finished until I believe it is finished!”
It’s laughable, isn’t it. No one in his right mind would do such a patently stupid thing! How utterly foolish.
How much more conceited is anyone who, in their most haughty moment of dementia, thinks that anything they believe or do can make the finished work of Almighty God “unfinished” by their lack of affirmative assent.
Finished means finished! Done means done! Our Lord really, freely, fully and forever redeemed His elect by His substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s Tree. “By one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” “By His own blood he entered once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” “But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put a way sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. Psalm 71:15-16
HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD
Among the things mentioned in Proverbs 6:17 that God hates is “hands that shed innocent blood.” Sad to say that this is done daily. The hands of governments and politicians do it and the hands of callous murderers. But there is more to this that a literal shedding of blood. Many men and women who would never kill anyone literally do it by false accusations and untruths spoken concerning others. Character assassins they are who speak lies and repeat gossip concerning others, especially God’s people. Sad it is that it is so often done by those who profess to be the people of God and even sadder it is that those who hear what is said of these innocent ones never make an effort to see if the things said are true! When the wicked sons of Belial cried out, “Naboth blasphemed God,” nobody sought to find out if it was true, It wasn’t true, Naboth was a righteous man who simply was obeying what God said. But it was too late, their hands shed innocent blood being the instrument of wicked Jezebel and Ahab for their own gain. There are many examples of this in history, in the scriptures and in daily life. The greatest example of all is the truly Innocent One, our precious sinless Savior! His blood was shed by the hands of wicked men. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” (Act 2:23) After Pilate was consenting to the wicked multitude he acts as if they had done it alone, saying, “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” (Mat 27:24) But he was not innocent, he had part in the shedding of innocent blood.” No one apart from Christ is truly Innocent but a person may be innocent of the charge that’s laid against them. To believe lies, gossip and charges against people innocent of them is to shed innocent blood! As Pilate’s fair speech and action showed, the hands of those who do this are not cleansed! No matter what they profess to be, God hates those that shed innocent blood! Like Naboth and Christ and others whose reputations, characters and actions have been slandered, God will vindicate His children and avenge His enemies and theirs. Be careful what you hear about others and believe. God hates those who shed innocent blood.! Gary Shepard