By: Robert Serreyn
Question? How was the thief saved PRIOR to Paul’s gospel?
First of all, it appears that by your question that you think there is more than one gospel message, and to be honest I would be just as confused as well if that was so.
There is one thing that every person needs to know, and that is… There has been ONLY ONE gospel message from Genesis to Revelations and that is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
BUT, before I go on, I need to say this one thing. Those that say that a person can only be saved by believing Paul’s Gospel only cause confusion as to WHICH GOSPEL must be believed.
To those that insists that Paul’s gospel must be preached in this dispensation of Grace (Church Age) Let me ask this question…
Question? Where do you think the Apostle Paul got his Gospel from?
ANSWER… From Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:1-4 states…
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (Jesus Christ), (2) (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) (3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
The only difference there is if you want to call it that , is that, the Apostle Paul got it straight from the mouth of God and we get it from the Written Word Of God, and that is all.
So, to me, to make the distinction that there is a DIFFERENT GOSPEL to be believed and preached other than Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31) falls right into the category I Think that Galatians 1:8 & 9 WARNS us about.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (9) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
To answer the question… The believing thief obviously knew who Jesus was according to his statement to the unbelieving thief in Luke 23:39-41.
And one of the malefactors (unbelieving thief) which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. (40) But the other (believing thief) answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
Although the scriptures are silent, the believing thief…
MAY HAVE heard Jesus preach.
He MAY HAVE witness some of the miracles that Jesus did.
He also MAY HAVE seen Jesus heal people and cast demons out of others.
ONLY when we get to heaven and get to talk to the saved thief will we know all the details. But one thing that we do know is that the believing thief believed that Jesus was God in the flesh (Dost not thou fear God) being crucified for the sins of mankind (we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss). therefore resulting in the believing thief’s salvation.
Luke 23:42-43 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The believing thief PERSONALLY BELIEVED that Christ was the Messiah, God in human flesh, the promised saviour who was prophesied to come as the payment for sin.
in other words the believing thief believed in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to know IS Jesus Christ as YOUR savior, just simply believe that Jesus Christ went to the cross and DIED and shed his blood, was BURIED and three days later RESURRECTED from the dead to pay for your sins.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou (you) shalt (will) be saved – Acts 16:31
The moment that you do YOU HAVE (at that second and forever) Everlasting Life which WILL NEVER be taken away no matter what.
-Christ DIED for you – Romans 5:8
-Christ PAID your sins in full – 2 Corinthians 5:21,1 Peter 2:24
-BELIEVE (Trust In Completely) in Christ ALONE as the complete payment of sin for salvation – John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8,9
“For the wages(payment) of sin is death (eternal torment in hell); but the GIFT(salvation) of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord”. Romans 6:23
IT IS THAT SIMPLE – THE GOSPEL TRUTH