Thursday, April 1, 2010

Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise

I just read an awesome commentary on Luke 23:43 written by a man named Charles R. Erdman (1866-1960; pastor and professor of theology).

To provide context, here is Luke 23:39-43:

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘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, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

The following excerpt by Erdman comes from The Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald:

“This story reveals the truth to us that salvation is conditioned upon repentance and faith. However, it contains other important messages also. It declares that salvation is independent of sacraments. The thief had never been baptized, nor had he partaken of the Lord’s Supper…He did in fact boldly profess his faith in the presence of a hostile crowd and amid the taunts and jeers of rulers and soldiers, yet he was saved without any formal rites. It is further evident that salvation is independent of good works…It is also seen that there is no ‘sleep of the soul.’ The body may sleep, but consciousness exists after death. Again it is evident that there is no ‘purgatory.’ Out of a life of sin and shame, the penitent robber passed immediately into a state of blessedness. Again it may be remarked that salvation is not universal. There were two robbers; only one was saved. Last of all it may be noted that the very essence of the joy which lies beyond death consists in personal communion with Christ. The heart of the promise to the dying thief was this: ‘Thou shalt be with me.’ This is our blessed assurance, that to depart is ‘to be with Christ’ which is ‘very far better.’” Charles R. Erdman

“Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.” Matthew 27:38

“They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.” Mark 15:27

“Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.” John 19:18

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