“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””Luke 23:39-43 NKJV
When we examine this account out of the gospel of Luke we see the grace and mercy of God poured out on a human life in their last moments on earth. The thief who was crucified next to Jesus had spent his life in sin. For his crimes he was being crucified. But in his last moments he turned his heart to Jesus and the Lord received Him with open arms.
Where many of us struggle in our relationship with God is that we don’t understand the depths of His grace and His mercy. We often see our mistakes and our shortcomings as greater than God’s grace and mercy. But the Lord has demonstrated from His word that nothing can separate us from His love and where sin abounds grace abounds even more.
What we must guard against is thinking that God’s grace gives us a license to sin or live in a state of habitual sin. There is a vast difference between making a mistake and living in habitual sin. In our humanity we will sin, but to live in habitual sin is to have an attitude of rebellion toward the Lord and His ways. Habitual sin will harden the human heart and have caused some to abandon the faith.
Daily we must focus our hearts on God’s love and grace for us. His love and grace are deeper and greater than we can even understand. The Lord stands with His arms open wide bidding all to come and receive His wonderful gift of salvation. Yes there will be trials and tribulations in this life. But no matter what we face in this life the grace of God is greater. Keep pressing on toward the high call in Christ Jesus.