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Repentence Leads to Paradise

Luke 23:39-43One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”…

“Christians are forever being asked to forgive, but there seems to be little emphasis on responsibility and repentance.” my friend contemplated today.

The criminal on the cross shows us what true repentance looks like.

  • Fear God
  • Acknowledge our guilt and Christ’s innocence
  • Accept punishment as just
  • Believe that Jesus is the son of God
  • Godly sorrow

The result of true repentance is that we are with Him in Paradise!

Many of us have claimed that we are a slave to no one. Jesus would respond:

John 8:34-35, 44- “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.”

44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

On the flip side unrepentance looks like:

  • Fear man, but not God
  • Slave to sin
  • Inflate our righteousness and deflate our guilt
  • Worldly sorrow (sorrow that never leads to repentance)
  • Constantly demand proof from Christ
  • Do not believe the truth Jesus speaks into our lives
  • Follow Satan

There are no fence sitters. Faith is not dependent upon our parents faith or lack of faith. We must chose independently . . . will I go on cursing God and die in my sins, or will I accept that I am a sinner saved alone by his grace. One way or the other we are called to account for our actions. In this life or in death. Yes, forgiving others must be a part of our daily actions; Christ forgave the world because they did not know what they were doing, even as they crucified the Son of God. But, he also lay the ground work of repentance right up to the cross. Many believed as Jesus was being crucified! Like the criminal on the cross they saw the stark difference between themselves and the innocent lamb hanging on the cross.

It is hard for me to write that we either follow Christ or we follow Satan. I want to believe that mankind is naturally good. But in my own original repentance, the truth of Christ’s statements to those who were about to murder him, made me painfully aware of the gap between my guilt and Christ’s innocence. I was following Satan and despising Christ. It is in that uncomfortable place I was offered the free gift of Paradise– truth that daily transitions me from building my kingdom to delighting in His.

Forgiveness and calling to repentance are both necessary for head turning transformation. Some  will reject and some will embrace forgiveness and repentance, but both are necessary to accomplish Jesus’ work of salvation in us.


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