He said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Luke 23:42
During our Lord's ministry on earth, multitudes heard Jesus, many believed in him, and others turned away. The criminal on the cross was the last to commit to Jesus before he died.
This last-minute conversion is probably the most splendid recorded example of repentance, faith, and salvation by grace alone. The man could not be baptized, receive communion, do good works, or show the world that his life had changed. He only had time to repent, confess that he deserved his punishment, and ask to be saved into the Lord's kingdom.
The account of this last-minute conversion teaches us several things. First, no one should give up hope for the salvation of others before they die. Genuine death-bed conversions do occur, displaying God's mighty power and unmerited grace.
Second, no one should try to take advantage of God's patience or expect to slip into the kingdom at the last minute. There may not be such an opportunity, and only fools take a chance on their eternal destiny.
Third, anyone may come to Jesus, regardless of sins and circumstances. Jesus will not turn a deaf ear to any sinner who repents.
So "today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:7-8).
Lord Jesus, you know how often I have done wrong. I repent of my sins, and I plead for your mercy and grace. Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!