Those are the famous lines of the so-called thief, so-called because he was worse than just a thief, who died next to Jesus. Jesus, of course promises that this man will has a guaranteed spot in paradise. All this man does after this is die. The man does not give money to the poor, and he does not risk anything for Jesus. This man just dies. And still, just calling upon Jesus was enough.
What if that is true? What if our only real need is to want and trust Jesus? I submit to you that the good news of Christianity claims that our only real problem and the only thing we genuinely need to turn from is our unbelief in Jesus. Everything boils down to this–it is not some spiritual add-on, but the very crux of everything that we are. Belief in Jesus is enough, and nothing adds anything to belief in Him–not our generosity, not our purity, not our intellects, not even our martyrdom could add a necessary thing to our ledger before God.
In Christ we are morally blameless, esteemed as royalty, and given a share in the divine nature. Yet we do not believe this.
So we grow bitter, and angry, and jealous. We work ourselves into the dust and neglect our families to gain something less valuable than what is ours for free.
We believe the gospel of money, and the message works like this, “If you have this you will be happy. We believe the gospel of fame, “You will be worshipped and satisfied. We believe the Gospel of life-altering sex, “There is pleasure for some that will make our lives complete.”
Yet we are in danger of believing all of these precisely because we don’t believe the Gospel. So my charge is simple this week. Let us pray that we would believe! Let’s pray that God would show us our folly in unbelief and that our hearts would rest confident in the truth that all we need is to believe in Jesus. Let’s pray for more faith than we have.