We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) This is a beautiful description of how the gospel brought transformation in the lives of the Thessalonian...
“Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NIV)
Don’t you just hate waiting for exam results? You take the test, hand in your paper, and then you wait. Imagine living your whole life waiting for the results. Will I make it into heaven, or will I spend eternity in hell?
When this man says to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Christ does not say, “Well, we’ll have to wait and see.” He says, “Today, you will be with me in paradise!”
If our works were involved in any way in our gaining entrance into heaven, then assurance would be impossible. We could never know if we had done enough. If salvation rested on our works, in any degree, then assurance would be arrogance. It would be like saying, “I’ve done all the works that are needed.”
The good news is that salvation depends not on your works for Christ, but on Christ’s work for you. Christ’s work is finished. It’s complete. It’s perfect. You can rest your life, death, and eternity on him with complete confidence.
Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (23:43). He’s the Lord of paradise, and he holds its keys. Nothing can trump his promise.
Christ doesn’t want you to spend the rest of your life worrying about the final outcome of your life. You can begin rejoicing now in all that he has in store for you: “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
Are you waiting on the outcome of your works, or are you resting in the finished work of Jesus (on the cross) for you?