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A Fresh Look at "The Thief on the Cross"

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[h=3]Luke 23:32-43[/h]New International Version (NIV)

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
[h=4]The story of the thief on the cross gets mentioned a lot on forums in order to prove or disprove certain points of view. But perhaps we should take an honest look at what it really says (or doesn't say) without jumping to conclusions. Some automatically assume that this thief believed in Christ at the very moment of hanging on the cross. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that.[/h]This story shows a few things:

1. Jesus has the power to forgive sins. This was exhibited throughout His earthly ministry, so no surprises there.
2. By his statements in vs 41 the thief must have had background knowledge of Christ, to declare that Jesus was without sin.
3. By his statements in vs 42 about Jesus coming into his kingdom, the thief must have had some background knowledge about Jesus's teachings.
4. The thief went to Paradise.. the good side of hell/Hades, where the souls of the righteous dead resided. This confirms the thief was righteous and justified.

But nowhere does it say when or how the thief believed in Jesus.

The only proof we have is that the thief made a request for Jesus to remember him coming into his kingdom.

It gives no indication whether the thief believed in that very moment, or whether he was a disciple of Christ from an earlier time.

This thief could have believed in Christ whilst still in prison awaiting trial, or even prior to that.

Perhaps Christ already knew this thief, and the thief was one who followed Jesus as a disciple or in the crowds. We already know that Jesus hung out with sinners and tax collectors, and even accepted Judas Iscariot , who was a thief, into his inner-most circle.

Perhaps the thief had already repented and believed in Christ prior to going to the cross... and Christ was only confirming his justification.

This man was receiving the Roman justice for his crimes, but we do not know if he became a believer before or during his execution.

In conclusion I see little hard evidence in these verses that this thief became a believer whilst hanging on the cross. His statements of truth in his dialogue with Christ prove that this thief had prior knowledge of Christ and his teachings, and so we cannot use this as an example of instantaneous salvation by faith alone apart from works.

We can really only use the thief on the cross as an example of Christ's mercy and promise of salvation to even the worst sinners.
 
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The story of the thief on the cross gets mentioned a lot on forums in order to prove or disprove certain points of view. But perhaps we should take an honest look at what it really says (or doesn't say) without jumping to conclusions. Some automatically assume that this thief believed in Christ at the very moment of hanging on the cross. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that.


The thief certainly believed at that moment:
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

The thief most likely knew what everyone was saying about Jesus and this new kingdom he came to establish although most thought it was to restore the Jewish nation.The fact that the thief knew Jesus's kingdom was not of this world means that he could have had a better understanding than the apostles who asked the risen Jesus if he was going to at this time restore the nation of Israel.

Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

The thief did not have the benefit of seeing an all powerful risen Jesus,he saw a broken man on a cross abandoned by his own apostles who never even expected Jesus to rise even though he told them he would.
If there was ever a time to doubt that Jesus was the one whom God sent,this was the time.
The thief exhibited faith that Jesus was sent by God in spite of a lot of seemingly contrary evidence.
The thief therefore did the one and only work available:

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


The attitude of the thief was that Jesus was well in control of the situation and was allowing it to take place for a greater purpose.
He showed us works by believing even when he could not see.

So even if the thief was a follower of Jesus he produced a work of faith by believing on the one whom God sent.
 
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The thief was Not saved ! Nor was anyone else! Before the LOrd rose from the Dead !
But there was two parts of Hell1 a good part and bad part! He just went to the good part !

Mat_12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
This of course is Hell , Where I LORD went to preach His gospel ! As it the ONLY WAY to salvation !

Hell of full of Godly men and women ! Waiting For there messiah , Our LORD JESUS!

1Pe_3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;


This scripture reveals , without a shadow of doubt ! All mankind went to Hell 1 Before our lord was raised to New jerusalem !

1Co_15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Heb 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Heb 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Heb 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.


He had to Die first and then be Raised into New jerusalem ! sending back the Power of God ! [the HOLY GHOST}

Mat_27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

So easy for us to lean toward our own understanding , then coming to the wrong understanding !

Pro_3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.



Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

They were all in the same place , But one side was nice , the other side suffering !

Joh_14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And of course there was no Jesus , til He came in the Flesh ! Jesus is the name of His body as it is with Us ! our flesh has a name , which it dies with our Body! that why we get New names in Heaven ! Because we are New Creatures ! Jesus also gets a new name1 Because we follow Him !
He our perfect example! We get new bodies like His and new names and much more! Because we really are new creatures1 a brand New Race of beings , made like our lord Jesus!

Rev_2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Rev_3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

2Co_5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Gal_6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.


Act_26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
 
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DHC

In conclusion I see little hard evidence in these verses that this thief became a believer whilst hanging on the cross. His statements of truth in his dialogue with Christ prove that this thief had prior knowledge of Christ and his teachings, and so we cannot use this as an example of instantaneous salvation by faith alone apart from works.
Hello James.

Whether the thief had prior knowledge of Jesus is irrelevant.

The moment the thief believed and confessed the name of Jesus,
the thief was saved. That is all the text states.

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”


The thief was saved because he asked Jesus to remember him,
and this is the foundation of the Gospel. We in essence ask Jesus
to save us in the same way, by the confession of Christ.

Genesis 15:6
Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
 
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Loyal
Luke 23:39; One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!"
Luke 23:40; But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?
The "good" thief feared God. He also stood up for Jesus, this was the work of his faith. In order to be reckoned as righteousness, faith must have an accompanying work as proof.

Luke 23:41; We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
The "good" thief admitted his sin. He recognized he deserved the punishment he was getting, this is a profound moment in a life, when you realize the punishment you deserve.
He also recognized Jesus was innocent. Another profound moment is when you realize Jesus didn't deserve to die.

Luke 23:42; Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He recognized Jesus, not just as a man, but as a King, "your" kingdom. He not only believed in Jesus, he submitted to him as to a king.
 
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Loyal
The thief was Not saved ! Nor was anyone else! Before the LOrd rose from the Dead !
But there was two parts of Hell1 a good part and bad part! He just went to the good part !
Typically hell is the "bad part" of sheol. Also called hades. Paradise or Abraham's bosom was the "good part". (Where the thief and Lazarus were).
No one is in Abraham's bosom anymore.

Eph 4:8; Therefore it says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN."
Eph 4:9; (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10; He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

Luke 4:18; The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Jesus took those who were 'captive' in sheol out with him.
 
Loyal
What the thief, the one who ask to be remembered, received was his "penny" even though he "worked" only, in effect, the very last hour of the day:
"And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny." Matt 20:9
 
Member


The thief certainly believed at that moment:
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

The thief most likely knew what everyone was saying about Jesus and this new kingdom he came to establish although most thought it was to restore the Jewish nation.The fact that the thief knew Jesus's kingdom was not of this world means that he could have had a better understanding than the apostles who asked the risen Jesus if he was going to at this time restore the nation of Israel.

Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

The thief did not have the benefit of seeing an all powerful risen Jesus,he saw a broken man on a cross abandoned by his own apostles who never even expected Jesus to rise even though he told them he would.
If there was ever a time to doubt that Jesus was the one whom God sent,this was the time.
The thief exhibited faith that Jesus was sent by God in spite of a lot of seemingly contrary evidence.
The thief therefore did the one and only work available:

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


The attitude of the thief was that Jesus was well in control of the situation and was allowing it to take place for a greater purpose.
He showed us works by believing even when he could not see.

So even if the thief was a follower of Jesus he produced a work of faith by believing on the one whom God sent.
John 20:29 is about Thomas not the thief? Where is the verse that says the thief believed in Him whilst on the cross?
 
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Hello James.

Whether the thief had prior knowledge of Jesus is irrelevant.

The moment the thief believed and confessed the name of Jesus,
the thief was saved. That is all the text states.

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”


The thief was saved because he asked Jesus to remember him,
and this is the foundation of the Gospel. We in essence ask Jesus
to save us in the same way, by the confession of Christ.

Genesis 15:6
Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already,
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The text does not state that the thief believed in Christ whilst hanging on the cross. A requirement of salvation is to confess Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9). There is no confession by the thief that Jesus is Lord. In addressing Jesus, the thief merely said "Jesus", he did not say "Lord Jesus" which would have indicated his reverence for Christ as a saved person. His referring to Christ as "this man", also does not indicate that the thief recognized Jesus as the Son of God or God in the flesh, which is another requirement of salvation.

All it is, is a request to remember him. My point is, there is no indication of when the thief was saved. He most likely was already a follower of Christ, prior to his execution. He had already repented and confessed his sins before God, prior to hanging on the cross. Perhaps 1 week, 1 month prior, we do not know. Enough time, however, to demonstrate his faith by his works and to bear fruit as proof of his salvation. There is no indication that he repented on the cross.. it does not say he insulted Christ and then repented in tears.. it does not say he felt remorse for his sinful actions.. as with Nicodemus. This is hardly a convincing example, to support a doctrine of salvation without fruit bearing.

In fact there are two gospel records which state that both thieves reviled and insulted him (see below), which is proof that both thieves may not have been saved. Perhaps we should not jump to conclusions about the eternal destination of the thief, in order to justify our particular understanding of the doctrine of salvation, after all, it is not really our call to make.
Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
Matt 27:44
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
 
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John 20:29 is about Thomas not the thief? Where is the verse that says the thief believed in Him whilst on the cross?
I used Thomas as an example of non-belief("I will not believe until") to contrast the expression of belief that the thief presented as
"remember me when you come into your kingdom".The thief believed that Jesus was King and had a kingdom coming to him despite what his 5 senses and logic told him.

There is no indication that he repented on the cross.. it does not say he insulted Christ and then repented in tears.. it does not say he felt remorse for his sinful actions.. as with Nicodemus. This is hardly a convincing example, to support a doctrine of salvation without fruit bearing.
None of those things are really any kind of proof of belief that God sent Jesus.
It may not support your doctrine of belief and salvation.
Abram believed God and that was counted as righteousness.
Did Abram repent or have remorse that he could not produce a son?
Are Abram's sins even mentioned in the transaction that resulted in Abram disappearing and Abraham
taking his place?

If remorse and repentance and all those other things are necessary then how do you explain this verse?:
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.


What works did the spouse and children do?
 
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I used Thomas as an example of non-belief("I will not believe until") to contrast the expression of belief that the thief presented as
"remember me when you come into your kingdom".The thief believed that Jesus was King and had a kingdom coming to him despite what his 5 senses and logic told him.



None of those things are really any kind of proof of belief that God sent Jesus.
It may not support your doctrine of belief and salvation.
Abram believed God and that was counted as righteousness.
Did Abram repent or have remorse that he could not produce a son?
Are Abram's sins even mentioned in the transaction that resulted in Abram disappearing and Abraham
taking his place?

If remorse and repentance and all those other things are necessary then how do you explain this verse?:
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.


What works did the spouse and children do?
Abraham sinned by forgetting God's promise, thinking God was late in his promise, and had a child by his slave. This child grew up to be a problem to Israel, and hence this is God's punishment for his sin. This is an example of salvation by works, and leads to bondage, captivity. But there are also works for righteousness according to God's promise. One work Abraham did was to offer Isaac on the altar. It was not just the belief but also the works that made Abraham righteous (see James 2:23).

According to the bible there is 3 key doctrines:
1. salvation by works (faith not required, or insignificant, this is our own righteousness)
2. salvation by faith without works (is dead faith, according to book of James)
3. Salvation by faith with works to show the faith - is the correct biblical understanding, as also confirmed by study of early christian non-canonical writings.

The Bible only supports 3. salvation by faith with works as correct. 1. and 2. are false doctrines.

1 Corinthians 7:14 does not support a belief that a wife or child is automatically saved because they have a believing husband. Every person must believe for themselves. The doctrine of salvation by birth, by being born to Christian parents, is a Roman Catholic doctrine with no scriptural basis.
 
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One work Abraham did was to offer Isaac on the altar. It was not just the belief but also the works that made Abraham righteous (see James 2:23).
The offering of Isaac was many years after Abram was renamed Abraham.
So was the birth of Ishmael by Hagar.
The covenant was set up with God promising and Abram believing.

Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
Genesis 15:8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
Genesis 15:9 And he said unto him, Take me a heifer three years old, and a female goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.
This covenant and the name change from Abram to Abraham was well before Isaac or Ishmael and the only work done was to believe.
Even the splitting of the heifer could not be considered a work because it was for a sign to Abram.

1 Corinthians 7:14 does not support a belief that a wife or child is automatically saved because they have a believing husband. Every person must believe for themselves. The doctrine of salvation by birth, by being born to Christian parents, is a Roman Catholic doctrine with no scriptural basis.
There are a whole lot of different ideas about what the term "saved" actually means so I usually just stick to what the scripture says.
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

The scripture says the unbeliever is sanctified by the believer.
It says the children are holy,as far as I know there are no levels to holy or sanctified.

We have the power to forgive sins so why would we choose not to use that where spouses and children are concerned.
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained



 
Member

DHC

According to the bible there is 3 key doctrines:
1. salvation by works (faith not required, or insignificant, this is our own righteousness)
2. salvation by faith without works (is dead faith, according to book of James)
3. Salvation by faith with works to show the faith - is the correct biblical understanding, as also confirmed by study of early christian non-canonical writings.
Hello James.

All three are incorrect.


Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

It is by Grace, a free gift from God.
 
Member
The offering of Isaac was many years after Abram was renamed Abraham.
So was the birth of Ishmael by Hagar.
The covenant was set up with God promising and Abram believing.

Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
Genesis 15:8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
Genesis 15:9 And he said unto him, Take me a heifer three years old, and a female goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.
This covenant and the name change from Abram to Abraham was well before Isaac or Ishmael and the only work done was to believe.
Even the splitting of the heifer could not be considered a work because it was for a sign to Abram.
Regardless of when it occurred.. both his faith and his works were accounted as righteousness. The common incorrect doctrine today is faith *only* is for righteousness, and works are neglected. But both are for righteousness.


There are a whole lot of different ideas about what the term "saved" actually means so I usually just stick to what the scripture says.
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

The scripture says the unbeliever is sanctified by the believer.
It says the children are holy,as far as I know there are no levels to holy or sanctified.

We have the power to forgive sins so why would we choose not to use that where spouses and children are concerned.
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained
We have the power to forgive the sins of those who have offended us. But we are not God, we cannot forgive others sins on their behalf.

The verse says the unbelieving spouse or children are sanctified/holy. This means separated from the world unto God's purpose. This is through their relationship and connection to the believing spouse. There would be some special blessing and protection upon the whole household, but the individual is still judged for their lack of faith in Christ. Otherwise God has double standards - believing in Christ becomes optional.
The proof of what I say is this verse, which indicates that the unbelieving husband or wife is still yet to be saved:
1 Cor 7 :16 "How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"
 
Member
Hello James.

All three are incorrect.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

It is by Grace, a free gift from God.
Of course..the grace is implied.
Please read the above as "salvation by (grace through) faith without works"

But since you have raised this point, we could add a 4th false doctrine to the list:
4. Saved by Grace, without faith or works.
 
Loyal
Some interesting points made here. I want to go back to the question of the opening post. Luke's gospel does not make it explicit when the thief on the cross first turned to follow Jesus - although I like most people have always assumed that it was on the cross that he first put his faith in Jesus.

Is this passage used to support a doctrine of salvation without fruitbearing? Surely we do not need to speculate about when and how he first believed to knock that idea down.

What we know about the man is that in his hour of most desperate need and crisis he put his faith in Jesus. And Jesus assured him that his faith would be honoured.

The reason that he never proved his faith by the fruit of good works is that he died that same day (although he did do good by proclaiming his faith loudly and clearly to all who were present - executioners, followers, by-standers). Good works are a mark of authenticity of faith: in this exceptional circumstance there may have been no opportunity to demonstrate the genuineness of his faith.

This does not apply to most of us - certainly those of us who have enough time to start contributing to Christian forums following salvation...

BAC writes "In order to be reckoned as righteousness, faith must have an accompanying work as proof." If we re-run the account in Luke's gospel according to that idea we might get

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, you have left it too late. You have no chance of proving to me that your faith is genuine.”

Does that sound right to anybody on this forum? It certainly sounds terribly wrong to me.
 
Member
Some interesting points made here. I want to go back to the question of the opening post. Luke's gospel does not make it explicit when the thief on the cross first turned to follow Jesus - although I like most people have always assumed that it was on the cross that he first put his faith in Jesus.

Is this passage used to support a doctrine of salvation without fruitbearing? Surely we do not need to speculate about when and how he first believed to knock that idea down.

What we know about the man is that in his hour of most desperate need and crisis he put his faith in Jesus. And Jesus assured him that his faith would be honoured.

The reason that he never proved his faith by the fruit of good works is that he died that same day (although he did do good by proclaiming his faith loudly and clearly to all who were present - executioners, followers, by-standers). Good works are a mark of authenticity of faith: in this exceptional circumstance there may have been no opportunity to demonstrate the genuineness of his faith.

This does not apply to most of us - certainly those of us who have enough time to start contributing to Christian forums following salvation...

BAC writes "In order to be reckoned as righteousness, faith must have an accompanying work as proof." If we re-run the account in Luke's gospel according to that idea we might get

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, you have left it too late. You have no chance of proving to me that your faith is genuine.”

Does that sound right to anybody on this forum? It certainly sounds terribly wrong to me.
The thief did prove his faith was genuine, by his confession with his mouth, which was a good work. The thief rebuked the thief who insulted Jesus, and showed concern for the sinless Christ, he also showed acceptance of his own fate, and agreed it was just. By our words we are justified or condemned (Matt 12:37).
 
Member
In the OP I see a lot of mans wisdom .not Gods . As I hung on that cross next to Christ here's what I saw from his view ..
No works needed only confess Christ as Lord and savior .if it were not the case works alone would gain entry to heaven .the bad thief was a prideful and spiteful sarcastic man ( just like I was ). The one on who sought to be with Christ humbled himself At the site of a living sacrifice for him as we all should be ...none gain Heaven by works least any man boast but by confession through the mouth and humbling of the Heart before almighty God that Jesus is our savior and Lord and that's the point Beloved,,pride gains nothing but Humility before God goes a long way.....Rev
 
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In the OP I see a lot of mans wisdom .not Gods . As I hung on that cross next to Christ here's what I saw from his view ..
No works needed only confess Christ as Lord and savior .if it were not the case works alone would gain entry to heaven .the bad thief was a prideful and spiteful sarcastic man ( just like I was ). The one on who sought to be with Christ humbled himself At the site of a living sacrifice for him as we all should be ...none gain Heaven by works least any man boast but by confession through the mouth and humbling of the Heart before almighty God that Jesus is our savior and Lord and that's the point Beloved,,pride gains nothing but Humility before God goes a long way.....Rev
Martin Luther ~ "“We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

Many have taken only the first part of Luther's quote, and created a doctrine around that. Neglecting the part which says "saving faith is never alone".

In other words, saving faith is not without works. Faith without works is not the faith which saves.

Both faith alone and works alone do not gain entrance into heaven. Only faith shown by works gains entrance into heaven. But not of ourselves, it is the gift of God lest anyone should boast.

James 2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Now for some historical evidence:

69-156 AD Polycarp "He who raised Him up from the dead will also raise us up-if we do His will and walk in His commandments and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness." (Polycarp, personal companion of the apostle John, Letter to the Philippians chap. 2)

110-165AD Justin Martyr "We have been taught...that He accepts only those who imitate the virtues that reside in Him-self*restraint, justice, and love of mankind.... And so we have received [this teaching] that if men by their works show themselves worthy of His design' they are deemed worthy of reigning in company with Him, being delivered from corruption and suffering." (Justin First Apology chap. 107, written before 150 A.D.)

125 AD Hermas, "Only those who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with God. But as to those who do not keep His commandments, there is no life in them.... All, therefore, who despise Him and do not follow His commands deliver themselves to death, and each will be guilty of his own blood. But I implore you to obey His commands, and you will have a cure for your former sins. " (Hermas Shepherd bk. 2, comm. 7; bk. 3, sim. 10, chap. 2)

 
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Then what you're saying is when I led my friends dad to The Lord and prayed the sinners prayer with him telling Him he would be accepted in HEAVEN ,just before he died. ....I LIED ? We spend so much time looking at the legal we forget Gods grace ...works is fruit of the spirit but if accepted just before death does God tell us go back and do works then maybe.....it undermines the cross and Gods love for us ...that's so sad...!Rev
 

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