I was asked a great question after church yesterday. It is a simple issue but one that is often misunderstood and one that gets to the heart of some people’s issues with the doctrine of grace.
My lovely sibling in Christ asked me about the thief who was crucified next to Jesus and how that person who was being executed for his crimes could see Jesus in paradise immediately after his death. After all, that guy did not do anything in his life that was good and was rightly executed for his crimes. What did he do to deserve an eternal life of pure joy?
He did nothing to deserve it, absolutely nothing and that is the whole point. Jesus giving His life on the cross next to him did everything necessary to save the thief and ensure his place in heaven with the Lord if the thief is merely willing to agree with what it so abundantly, clearly true. That God gave His life as a sacrifice in our place so that we don’t have to give ours in punishment.
The doctrine of salvation through grace means that it is a gift freely given to those who do not deserve it and those who could on their won never earn it. If we pay for it, it is not free after all. The wonderful simplicity of this truth can blow your mind change your life if you grab hold of it. It is free to me, but cost Jesus greatly.