“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:39-42).
Both Matthew and Mark state that the two thieves did revile Jesus. Yet, when one thief saw what was done to Jesus and all the mocking charged at him and how Jesus responded (Luke 23:34; John 19:26), that thief under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, understood that Jesus was truly the Son of God. Then he repented, believed in Jesus Christ, and confessed his new faith (Luke 23:41-43; Rom. 10:9).
Although the thief on the cross repented and believed, he did not have the chance to mend his ways, restore what he had stolen (as the Lord specifically directs in Ezekiel 33:15), nor get baptized. Had he the chance to do so, he would have certainly did that which is right and fixed his ways before God and man. This is the only example in the Bible of an exception to the rule.
God holds us accountable for what we can do, but He also recognizes the limitations of the flesh “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalms 103:14). God will not require a physical impossibility.
And because of the prisoner’s faith, the Lord Jesus gave him the promise you will “be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). In fact, it was Jesus’ presence on the cross that made such a hope possible.
In His service,