A Devotional by Karen Schoeppach
From the book “Amazing Grace” published by Zondervan Publishing House, copyright 1999:
At Calvary a man was dying who deserved hell. He was a thief. He was a murderer. Yet in the last moment he turned to Christ and said, “Lord, remember me” (Luke 23:42). In that moment Jesus turned to him and said, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Referring to those passages, Rev. Billy Graham wrote about God’s grace, His mercy. Rev. Graham tells us that he will see that thief in Paradise. He spoke of how being baptized wasn’t the reason Jesus told the thief he would join Him in Paradise. It wasn’t taking communion or giving money to charitable works. The thief would not have an opportunity to come off the cross and change his ways. He would join Jesus in Paradise only through the grace and mercy of God. No matter how wicked he was in the past, he was saved.
To understand what the cross means, you need that assurance of God’s Word. “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
What a wonderful thing this mercy, this grace that is God’s gift to his children. We don’t have to beg for it. We don’t need to jump through “hoops”. We don’t have to make a deal or a bargain. It is there, ready for us to receive it.
God, we thank You for the gift of grace that You have for Your children. May we always be willing to share this good news. Amen.