Thief In Paradise
Those who consider salvation to be an escape from everlasting
torture to a paradise of pleasure, and dependent only on
accidental circumstances of favor, think they see exemplified
in this narrative the doctrine of election--that our Lord
Jesus, pleased by the consoling words of the one thief,
elected him to heaven, and equally elected that the other
should suffer to all eternity, unpitied and unrelieved.
Truly, if God has made salvation such a lottery, such a
chance thing, those who believe it to be such should have
little to say against Church lotteries, and less against
But this is not the case. This scripture has been much misunderstood.
To get its true importance, let us take in the surroundings
sacrifice of Jesus is fundamental to the Christian faith,
yet most Christians cannot reasonably explain why God required
the death of his only son before he could begin to forgive
a single person (Heb. 9:22). What does Jesus sacrifice accomplish
and how does it redeem us? Why did God require his sacrifice
in the first place? Will only Christian's benefit from Jesus'
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Divine Plan of the Ages
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title of this series of studies -- The Divine Plan of the
Ages, suggests a progression in the Divine arrangement,
foreknown to our God and orderly.