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Episode #2: From God-Skeptic to Believer

March 12, 2015

“I had thought of myself as a God-skeptic, but in that moment I saw something deeper and darker in my soul…”

These words from the thief on the cross in Heaven, How I Got Here describe a familiar struggle in the human mind: Is God real? Is Jesus worthy of my trust? And if so, what do I do with the rebellion I sense in my own heart towards him?

We asked Pastor Colin what he would say to the person who, like the thief on the cross, is skeptical of Jesus Christ. Here’s his response:

Of the thief on the cross, Pastor Colin preached the following words, in a sermon entitled “Breakfast with the Devil, Supper with the Savior“:

One of the sinners has a change of heart, and right there on the cross Christ saves him.

Spurgeon says this man was our Lord’s last companion on earth and his first companion in heaven. [1] Jesus chooses surprising friends, doesn’t he? “When the Lord Jesus made a friend of me,” Spurgeon says, “He certainly did not make a choice that brought him credit.” Don’t you feel that way too?

Christ is ministering, even in his agony, to this wretched man who’d wasted his life and only moments ago was abusing him. Now Christ makes this man his friend! He says to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise. I’m going to make you my friend.” Do you see the love of Christ here? Spurgeon pictures Christ entering the glory of heaven,

Who is this that enters the pearly gate at the same moment as the King of glory? Who is this favored companion of the Redeemer? Is it some honored martyr? Is it a faithful apostle? Is it a patriarch like Abraham or a prince like David? It is none of these. Behold and be amazed at sovereign grace…[2]

A notorious sinner on the brink of hell is swept into the glory of heaven. We might ask, “Lord, why him? Isn’t there someone better suited to be your first companion in heaven?” This man is a sample of what Christ can do. The first man in heaven has absolutely nothing to commend him.

Christ is glorified by saving this man in this way because it’s clear that his salvation is through Christ alone. His salvation opens the door of hope for all of us, because if this man can become the companion of Christ in heaven, then there’s hope for you and for every person you’ll ever meet. Do you see the love of Christ in this?

[1] C. H. Spurgeon sermon, The Believing Thief, April 7th, 1899.

[2] Ibid.

The Author
Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a writer and Bible teacher. She has previously served as content manager of Unlocking the Bible. She is the author, along with Sarah Walton, of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company, April 2017). She blogs at her website, and you can follow her on Twitter. She and her husband Brad are parents to their sweet daughter and members of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Itasca, Ill.

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