The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"How Free? This Free!"
To what degree is salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ the "free gift" thrice affirmed by the Apostle Paul in the 5th chapter of Romans? (Romans 5:15:16: 18).
"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).
A cross impaled the man's hands and feet. He could do absolutely nothing. He could not work, nor could he walk. He could not perform the most menial of good deeds, or even a hint of religious ceremony. He could do nothing except look to the One impaled beside him as the gift of God and the hope of man. The thief clearly believed the Lord Jesus would live beyond the cross - "Remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." He knew himself to be a sinner worthy of condemnation - "We receive the due reward of our deeds." He also affirmed the Savior as innocent and sinless - "This man hath done nothing amiss." Thus, he fulfilled the simple prerequisites of grace whereby one receives God's salvation. He trusted in the One who accomplished for him the hope of redemption. He believed that Christ in His life beyond death could do for him what he could not do for himself. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us" (Titus 3:5).
The impaled thief became a redeemed saint. His story has provided vivid revelation of salvation by grace through faith to millions through the ages who believed their sin to be too great, and their life too complete a waste. The man did nothing, but rather cast his lot completely on the Lord Jesus. Most importantly, the Savior did everything for the robber turned recipient. This is salvation, the grace of the freest gift purchased by the highest cost. How free is the gift? Sublimely, wondrously, gloriously, entirely, breathtakingly free! We cannot pay for that which the Lord Jesus has already purchased with His very life. We can only receive the gift by faith, and by "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Having received such grace, we then join the thief turned saint by bearing witness to the freest gift ever given, purchased by the highest cost ever remitted. "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
The redeemed saint on the cross had moments to live out his earthly existence. Those moments became a ministry that spans 20 centuries, and continues until this hour. Indeed, how many lost hearts have been rescued by the floodtides of grace that flow from the story of a thief whose redemption serves as hope to the most wayward and wicked. How free is God's gift of salvation in Christ? Look to the crucified and risen Lord Jesus to find ever more sublime answers to this vital question. Look also to a thief turned saint whose hands and feet were impaled to a cross, but whose redeemed spirit soared free with the Savior he discovered late - but not too late. His testimony still wings its way unto those beyond hope, but not beyond the grace of the Christ who long ago transformed a wasted life into one of the greatest testimonies of the Gospel "able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25).
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?"
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
Weekly Memory Verse
I will love Thee, o Lord my strength.