Daily Reading: Luke 23:39-43:
”One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” We misunderstand this verse often in many Christian teachings. What the criminal is saying is that Jesus is Messiah (Luke 23:40). The criminal was saved because of faith in Jesus (Luke 23:43).
Our lives before Christ, would be seen as the criminals on the cross because we all were under the same death sentence because of sin (Luke 23:43) and Jesus will not physically rescue us off the cross just like He did not physically rescue the thief either. You were crucified. Your old sinful flesh was put to death.
All of humanity is represented by the two criminals on the cross. Notice there is not a third criminal with a different perspective. The difference is in their response to Jesus. One receives the Savior (Luke 23:40-42) and is given life the other rejects Christ as Messiah (Luke 23:39) and receives damnation. There is no other options that remain.
3 Things Happen to Believers At the Cross
1) You have been crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14).
Crucified (Stauroō): the flesh
to the world (kosmos): the whole mass of men alienated from God.
Your sinful flesh has been crucified so you are no longer alienated from God, that is what happened to you at the cross.
2) Life (zaō): You have true life an entrance into the kingdom “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Galatians 2:20, Luke 23:43).
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
3) Raised Up (synegeirō): You have been raised up together from mortal death to a new and blessed life dedicated to God (Colossians 3:1-4).
So what the Bibles says is that your life is hidden in Christ. What that means is the crucifixion was not the end but the crucifixion lead to the Resurrection and then the Ascension. We have been given new life a life dedicated to God where one day we will be with Him in heaven, but He is already with us right now as well. The key to living the victorious life is for us to change the way we think and be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:23). If we want to see breakthrough in our lives, look to Jesus, look to the cross, and change the way we think.