As God's Creatures, we know very little about God's Plan. We know very little about His Son's life, Suffering and Dying. We know and accept the fact that He is risen and now lives in us and for us. I know I should know more about the crosses, but what I'm about to say should be talked about year round. The easiest way for me to remember what happened that day, is for me to remember the three F's. Let me explain, the first F stands for the Cross on Jesus' left side, this stands for flesh. The thief on Christ's left was only concerned about his own flesh. It was his flesh that got him into trouble and it was his flesh that he was concerned about. The Bible tells us in the Book of Luke 23:39, One of the malefactors, which were hanged railed on Him, saying, "If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us." I think he was more interested in "us" than he was in "thyself." Flesh has always gotten man in trouble. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, Satan has had dominion over man's flesh. Man loves his flesh and it's his flesh that wars against his Spirit, each day, trying to cause man to sin and fall. So, when I look from the crosses, as Christ would, I see the cross on His left represents the flesh of man.
Then I look to the cross on Jesus' right and I see the second F, faith. In Luke 23:40, the second malefactor said to the other thief, "Doest not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" His repentance has started and here comes his confession. "And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss." Here, the second thief declares Christ's innocence and his guilt. In verse 42 he says,"Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." He recognizes that Jesus is Lord and ask Him to remember that he acknowledges his guilt. So, by Faith he confesses his sins, acknowledges Jesus is Lord and ask to be remembered. The second F, stands for Faith.
Once repentance comes and confession is made, Forgiveness breaks loose. Jesus looks to the heart of the second thief and then replies, "Verily I say unto thee. Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." For the next three hours, Jesus prepared Himself to give up the Ghost and to be with His Father. So, here is the summary of what we see. First F is flesh, this is what gets us into trouble. The second F is faith. This is our way out and the third F is forgiveness. Jesus sees our problem, hears our guilt and confession, forgives us unconditionally and saves our soul.
1st F = Flesh
2nd F = Faith
3rd F = Forgiveness.
Promise of Paradise
Many people, either don't know or don't understand about Paradise. Under the Old Testament Law, a person had to die in total righteousness. There was no room for error. A person could live a perfect life for years, every sin forgiven. If that person died with all sins forgiven, his soul would go to a department in Hell called Abraham's Bosom. Man had sinned in the Garden of Eden and could no longer live with God forever. Stan had control over the Soul of man. If he lived a righteous life, he could not be punished, but his soul was confined in paradise, locked away from the presence of God. If he had lived a perfect life, but then had fallen into a trap of sin and died, his soul would go to hell and be tormented until it was brought for judgement at the Great White Throne Judgement.
There are five departments of Hell named in the Bible: 1. Hell, the torment chamber. 2. Abraham's Bosom, where the righteous souls were held. 3. The Abyss or bottomless pit. This is where Satan will be held for 1,000 years. 4. Tartarus. This is where the fallen angels are held until judgement. 5. The Lake of Fire. This is where all evil will be cast at the final day. Even Satan himself. Revelation 20:10.
Since Jesus gave His life before His arising, He also being obedient to God's Word, knew He had to go to paradise, but He was going there to set the captive free. The Bible teaches us, that Jesus went and preached to those that were held captive, took the keys of hell from Satan and loosed all Saints from Paradise and led the captivity free to the third Heaven where God is. Ephesians 4:7-9 Jesus told the thief, "Today" you will be with me in Paradise, not tomorrow or next week, but today. The Bible tells us in Matthew, that just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. Jesus had been gone for three days when He appeared to Mary in the garden and said, "Touch me not: for I have not yet ascended to my Father." Where had He been for three days and nights?
You see, all were born under the curse of Adam and Eve. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needed a redeemer also. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Jesus preached unto them and they had to accept Him as their Saviour also. When Jesus gave up the ghost, he and the repentant thief went to Paradise, right then. The Bible has so much for us to learn about our Lord. We just need to read it. I know all of us are going through trying times right now. All we can do is give all of our problems and cares to Jesus and allow Him to take care of them for us. When we were lost and on our way to Hell, we had no one that could or would take care of us., but now we have Jesus. If God is on our side, who can fight against us? I pray that you are saved, but only you and God know for sure. You can only be saved when God places you under conviction for your sins, you realize that Hell is real and that's where you are going, unless you are saved. Once you are under conviction, all you need to do is confess that you're a sinner, admit you believe that Jesus is God's Son and that God raised Him from the dead. Ask Jesus to save your soul. Then just talk to Him and ask for His help. †