Friday, 29 March 2013

Was the sinner on the cross an exception?

There are many who argue that the “sinner crucified beside Jesus” was saved without being Baptised in/with water and/or born of the Spirit. There is of course NO SCRIPTURE to support that claim. However there are many indications given and other facts that do support the contrary. My endeavour here is to establish that there is every likelihood that the sinner in question had already been Baptised in water and was already a believer in Jesus Christ and His doctrines.

Let us firstly establish a few facts (within the limitations of what we are told/read).

1. Both John (the Baptist) and Jesus were conceived by the will of God by the Holy Ghost. Two miraculous conceptions, John to an elderly woman considered way past her child bearing years (Elizabeth wife of Zechariah)  and Jesus to the Virgin Mary who was Betrothed to Joseph. Both were SENT by God, but for different purposes. One was to Baptise with water unto Repentance and the other to deliver His Word to His People with the Spirit of Truth, baptising those who Believe with the Spirit of God for the forgiveness of sins with the sacrifice of His own Blood sealing the New Covenant.

2. It is said that the Ministry of Jesus Christ lasted three years and 6 months (3.5 years) from Jesus’ baptism by John (the Baptist) unto His crucifixion.

3. Jesus was born 6 months after John (the Baptist).

4. It was not allowed for someone to become a Priest until they were thirty years old (30 years old), so Jesus (being blameless) would have observed this Law and gone to the river Jordan to be Baptised by John (the Baptist) not before turning 30 years old.

Now some may well be wondering what those 4 points listed above have to do with the sinner on the cross? A short answer would be a VERY GREAT DEAL.

Unlike the justice system(s) of nowadays where one can drag-out execution of an original conviction with appeal after appeal after appeal, the justice back in the days when Jesus walked upon the Earth was swift and rights of appeal a rarity (Jesus’ and Paul’s treatment were exceptions and not the rule). Jesus was taken into custody because of a betrayal and conspiracy and was repeatedly acquitted of any wrong-doing (found not worthy of death) and was only condemned to death because it was the will of the Scribes and Pharisees (not Pilate nor Herod). Paul was not able to be judged under the Law (Jewish Laws) as he claimed to be born a Roman and was sent incarcerated to be judged in Rome. With this in mind and given that John (the Baptist) had been Baptising in the river Jordan for maybe 6 months before he Baptised Jesus and that Jesus had been Preaching the Gospel for 3 years and 6 months before being condemned to be crucified, then there was a period of no less than 4 years (3.5 years + 0.5 years = 4 years) wherein the sinner could have been Baptised prior to his conviction and sentencing carried-out with his subsequent crucifixion along-side Jesus. Furthermore there were 3 years and 6 months when the sinner could have heard about the Gospel of Jesus and believed on Him. To say that the sinner had not been Baptised in water or heard about the Gospel of Jesus prior to his crucifixion would require one to believe that the sinner (thief) had been held in captivity and incarcerated for 4 years prior to his sentence being carried-out. Given the swiftness of punishment befitting the crime in those days, being held-over for punishment for 4 or more years is not only PREPOSTEROUS, it was just downright UNHEARD-OF.

Yes, the same could also be said about the other (unrepentant) sinner as those circumstances would also be true for him as well.

So here we have 3 condemned men being crucified, the first is a thief that refuses to accept his punishment, is unrepentant and would escape death by any means possible (even a miracle).  The second also a thief who is self-confessed as being worthy of death for his crime (repentant) and accepting of his fate and who feared God, who spoke out against the unrepentant sinner and acknowledged Jesus as the Lord and asked Jesus “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom”.  The third was the Son of the Living God, who was condemned to death without a cause and accepted his punishment without complaint, secure in the foreknowledge and Faith therein that it was for that purpose to which he was born into the world.

Now in the entire chapter of Luke 23 it never mentions that either of the thieves were not Jews, so it can be safely assumed that they were Jews because no distinction was made about them. Also given the period of 4 years mentioned above, the thieves had plenty of time prior to their incarceration and subsequent crucifixion, to receive the Jewish right of Baptism in water unto repentance (thereby becoming a Disciple of John the Baptist). Part of John the Baptist’s mission to Baptise God’s People (the Jews) was to inform those he Baptised to seek Jesus who would Baptise them with the Holy Ghost and believe on Him for the remission of their sins. Finally, during that whole chapter never at any stage did anyone (not even Jesus) teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Kingdom of God or indeed Life after death to either of the thieves.

In summary:

What we know for certain about the second thief are these facts:

1. He was almost certainly a Jew as he was condemned under the Jewish Law.
2. He was absolutely repentant of his crime and had ample time prior to crucifixion to have confessed and been Baptised unto repentance (water Baptism) prior to his incarceration.
3. He had a thorough foreknowledge of the Kingdom of God, life after death and also knew that it was the Lord Jesus who was beside him being crucified also.
4. He vehemently defended Jesus’ inaction of not interceding and saving them from their punishment.
5. He had confessed Jesus as his Lord when he addressed Jesus as such.

Given the 5 points I have highlighted above, there is in fact every reason to believe that the second thief was actually a Disciple of Jesus’. Remember the only thing Jesus said to the second thief was to reassure him that he was not going to perish that day. And maybe the reason for that was because the second thief had already met all that was required to be saved and that Luke who recorded the exchange between Jesus and the second thief was merely unaware of it and hence failed to mention it.

Finally, I think I have highlighted that there is sufficient reasonable doubt that nobody can conclusively say that the second thief was saved without being Baptised in water, let alone believed the Word of Truth and declared Jesus as his Lord. YES The second thief was not Baptised when he was on the cross, BUT that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t Baptised and a Believer prior to being crucified.

God Bless you all, your Brother in Christ Jesus,

Christopher John Petersen (Ad finem fidelis)

© by Christopher John Petersen

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Have we made ourselves known to the Lord?

Although I was conceived by the will of the flesh, yet have I been attained by the will of God and abide herewith.

From the moment we are born, as each day passes our days on this Earth become fewer. There are many who choose to neither labour or strive but rather live a life garnished by “ill gotten gains” (acquired not earned), by way of deception, theft, murder or by other unrighteous means. They will never know Grace nor be honoured, for they could never bestow or bequeath anything that is “rightfully theirs”, for that which is rightfully gotten is called “GOODS” and remains the property of the rightful owner until ownership is passed to another by the owner thereof.

And some in their youth labour and strive as much as they are able to lay-up wealth and riches for the days when they are old and nearing death, much of which will profit nobody but by a dead legacy, having left (not given) only what they no longer have need of themselves, having never suffered the needs of others, the memory of such shall be their shame.

And some labour and strive only for what they need day by day, harvesting no more than they need and so do all their lives unto death, thereby leaving no legacy at all, for they too never suffered the needs of another, the memory of they shall be as though they never were or lived at all.

And some labour and strive as much as they are able, keeping only that which they need and dispersing all excess to those who have needs beyond their abilities or circumstances permit, laying up nothing for themselves for a morrow that may not come, but rather suffering all they can for those who are in need in the day that they know that they are able to so do, having Faith that each morrow shall bring an abundance for likewise dispersal, not only of their riches but their wisdom also, and in the years that they are not, they shall be remembered for bestowing a Living Legacy of a life lived worthy of remembrance and emulation. For they, whilst they were yet with us, saw those that were hungry and fed them, they in need of shelter and took them in, clothed those who had not, gave drink to those athirst, visited the sick and poorly, gave wisdom to the unwise, knowledge to those who know not, had prayers for all and favoured none. Not remembered as Gods, but rather as one who had the Love of God abiding in them (Children of God) and lived accordingly, for it is far better to sympathise and act whilst thou yet live, than to merely empathise and do nothing except it be over your dead body and of no sacrifice at all.

Matthew 7:20-27. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 25:31-46. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

I am not advocating becoming a “Good Samaritan”, for a Samaritan acts on their own will. Nor am I advocating inaction. But rather Acting and Speaking in concert and in harmony with the Holy Spirit and Will of God. This can be no clearer than in the words of “The Lord’s Prayer”. For in it Jesus says, “Thy Will be DONE on Earth as it is in Heaven”. This statement alone implies that God’s Will is not always “the DONE thing” on Earth, but “IS ALWAYS THE DONE THING” in Heaven. And at the risk of stating what now should be obvious, “Whomsoever is not for The Will of God [alike] is against the Will of God [unlike]. How for then shall we be “likened”? Good fruit are “known” firstly by their appearance [by sight and what they appear to be] and confirmed by what they deliver from within [their essence and content or true value and worth]. We acknowledge that we are sustained by the Hand of God and the Word of God. Be merciful unto us as we ourselves are merciful unto others. And although we may at times have temptations laid in our paths, we Trust that the Holy Spirit shall deliver us from being tempted and not succumb to it.

Shall we be only the outward shell of what promises great things, yet when required inwardly showing no depth of character and those depending on us left wanting (even for small mercies). Or maybe we can be the deliverer of small and simple acts that amount to an abundance over the term of our lives. If we cannot be trusted to deliver the small and simple things, how can we be entrusted to deliver great and miraculous things? Is it not better that we do what we can guided by the Holy Spirit using our God given Talents (abilities), than to go all our lives trying to perform Miracles and accomplish nothing due to a lack of Faith? Should we bury our Talents or use them just for ourselves or make Good use of them so they may give a greater return to He who invested us with them? Friends, what is the greater? Is it the one who gives all of what little they have, or the one who gives a fraction they have from their abundance?

Mark 12:42-44. “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Matthew 25:23. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

May God Bless us all that we may bestow His Blessings, His Word and Promises with others that hath not. A-men.

© by Christopher John Petersen