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  1. The Thief Cross on the Luke 23:39-43

  2. The Thief Might Have Been Baptized! • No one knows/can prove if he was baptized or not • The thief lived last 3 years in the midst of widespread teaching, practice and acceptance of baptism • John preached baptism “to all the people of Israel” (Ac. 13:24) • “All the land of Judea…went out to him” (Mark 1:4-5) • “Jerusalem, all Judea & all the region of Jordan” (Matt. 3:5-6) • “…the multitudes that came out to be baptized” (Luke 3:7) • “When all the people were baptized…” (Luke 3:21) • “Jesus made & baptized more disciples than John” (John 4:1) • The thief could have been baptized, then lapsed into old ways. • The thief had a good knowledge of Christ (Lk 23:39-43) • He knew, believed & respected Jesus more than most • Most likely he learned this earlier, perhaps even as a disciple

  3. The Thief Did Not Live Under the N.T. Like We Do! • The thief lived and died under the Old Testament. • The testament under which he lived did not require baptism. • The testament under which we live does require baptism. • Fundamental principle found in Hebrews 9:15-17 • A testament is only in force after the death of the testator. • After death, the testament assumes authority/control. • The thief lived before the testament requiring baptism. • One is amenable to the law under which he lives. • The thief was not subject to New Testament baptism. • Neither was Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, etc. • Today we are not subject to animal sacrifices, Passover, etc. • Abraham Lincoln was not subject to paying income tax.

  4. The Thief Was Forgiven By the Authority of the Testator! • While on earth, before His will went into effect, Christ had the authority to forgive sins personally and directly of whomever He desired, independent of “baptism” on their part (cf. Matt. 9:6). • He could forgive the paralytic in Mark 2:5. • He could forgive the sinful woman in Luke 7:48. • He could forgive the adulteress in John 8:11. • He could forgive Zacchaeus in Luke 19:9. • He could forgive His executioners in Luke 23:34. • He could forgive the thief in Luke 23:43.

  5. The Thief Was Forgiven By the Authority of the Testator! • While on earth, before His will went into effect, Christ had the authority to dispense blessings directly based upon His own will at the time. • A testator may dispense as he sees fit while still alive. • At death, Christ’s authority took force in His written will. • The blessings of His estate are now only dispensed through His will. • The terms of pardon were set out in written record, specifying baptism as a condition of pardon from sin (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21; etc.). • No one has the legal right to eliminate or alter any portion or condition of His will by appealing to something the Lord did during His earthly ministry.

  6. The Thief Is Not Our Example of Conversion! • After His resurrection, Jesus gave the Great Commission, requiring baptism. • The book of Acts details how this Great Commission was carried out. • In every case of conversion in “The Christian Age” (1,000’s of them in the book of Acts), baptism was essential. • All were saved (without exception) on exactly the same terms—the law of pardon given in the Great Commission. • Not one single time in the book of Acts did anyone ask, “What about the thief on the cross?” • The thief does not constitute an example for us today!

  7. The Thief Is Not Our Hope of Salvation! • Our salvation is based on the Lord and what He did! • Not on the thief and what he did (or didn’t do)! • Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6)! • Obeying His will is the only hope we have of heaven (Matt. 7:21). • No one has a right to modify His will by changing His terms of salvation. • My focus doesn’t need to be on the salvation of the thief! • Nothing that he did or didn’t do will affect my salvation! • The thief did not obey the plan of salvation in the New Testament. • My focus needs to be on whether or not I am saved! • It was the Lord who died for our sins (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24). • It was the Lord who told us how to be saved (Mark 16:16). • Suppose, in His last will and testament, Jesus had said: • “He who believes and is baptized will receive one million dollars.” • Do you suppose anyone would say, “Well, the thief wasn’t baptized”?