It is not too late to be forgiven. The thief on the cross asked Jesus for forgiveness hours before his death and He granted it. He realized his sin, confessed it before God, and repented. He knew there was nothing he could do to earn it. Only by trusting in Jesus. And that is what he did. Jesus offers everyone a chance. We are all like these thieves. We are all guilty. The question is which thief do you want to be?
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.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
That news applies to all of us. If we believe with our hearts, one day we will be with Him in Paradise. We will have eternal life in heaven. As the thief said, we justly deserve death. We are all sinners. But God in His grace shows us mercy. Jesus died for us so that we may become children of God, not by our own doing, but by what Jesus did on the cross.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
As the interaction of Jesus with the thief shows, it is not our deeds or anything we do that saves us. His blood on the cross, paying for our sins and removing them is what saves us. God gives us faith. We just need to accept His gift.
…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
We are justified by faith. Jesus opened the door for us to know God. We are all sinners, but through the act of Christ on the cross, we are declared righteous.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
There were two criminals who were crucified with Christ. One who mocked Him and one who trusted Him. One who was arrogant, and one who was humble. One who blasphemed and the other who surrendered. God gives us a free gift. Free, to us, costly for Him. Is there any reason not to accept that free gift? Unfortunately many do, some are even offended by it. I pray that you take that free gift and rejoice in it. When we trust and believe in Jesus, He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to help us, to pray for us, to intercede for us. We will be a new creation. We will have joy inexpressible, the scriptures say. Thank God for His grace and His mercy.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Our sins died on that cross with him. He did it for us. We can be like the one thief who rejected Him and be destined for hell, or be like the other thief and be in Paradise with Him. This was God’s plan all along. Jesus would pay for our sins so that we may live.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.