Welcome to the Newheart Commentary of the Lifting Us Up in Liberty Program.

The celebration of Christ’s resurrection has come and gone. But This is the celebration of all celebrations! Let’s reflect on what happened on Good Friday since it was a week ago.

Christ’s resurrection gave us freedom from our sins. Christ redeemed us; paid our sin debt in full. Remember, to receive Jesus as Lord & Savior, you don’t have to do any works or join any particular religion. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, not by works so that no one can boast.”

Let’s look at God’s grace as Jesus hung on the cross when he spoke to the thief on the cross. One thief insulted Christ. But the other thief rebuked him. In Luke 23:40-43 The thief said “Don’t you fear God” since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “TRULY I say to you, TODAY you will be WITH ME in paradise.”

This is evidence this thief had a changed heart when he said (to the other thief) “Don’t  you fear God?” Psalm 111:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This thief now had a clearer vision he wanted salvation from divine punishment. This is God’s grace on the cross, the light of Jesus shining in the midst of darkness. 

Next,the thief said in verse 41 “we’re receiving what we deserve for our deeds…”. He is admitting his lawlessness; his unworthiness. A sign  of repentance. He’s confessing his guilt. He needs mercy, he needs God’s grace. 

In verse 42 the thief begins by saying “Jesus”.  Jesus means Jehovah saves. He’s acknowledging he needs Jesus, His Savior, he’s in need of forgiveness. Just moments earlier, as Jesus hung on the cross, Jesus said in Luke 23:34: “Father FORGIVE THEM for they know not what they’re doing.” The thief heard Jesus. He knew he needed forgiveness. It became clear Jesus is the promised King. More of God’s grace on the cross. 

The last part of verse 42, the thief mentions Jesus’ Kingdom. He understands Jesus is going to die and rise again and He is going to come in His Kingdom and he wants to belong to this Kingdom as one of His saints. More of God’s grace on the cross. 

Finally, in verse 43, Jesus emphasizes the truth of His promise by saying “Truly.” Then Jesus says TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME…Not tomorrow, not next week, not only if you do certain deeds….TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE!! Now that’s God’s Grace on the Cross!

Have you confessed Jesus as your Savior? Confessed your sins? Repented of your sins? The thief on the cross did in his dying hours. Don’t wait. Do it today. Hebrews 3:7 says “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Being saved by God’s grace will lift you up in liberty. 

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