Preacher, on your radio show you stated that both thieves who were crucified with Jesus asked Jesus for eternal life. A close study of Matthew 27:38&44, Mark 15:27,28&32, Luke 23:32,33&39-43, John 19:18, 31&32 shows that this is not true. Actually neither the unbelieving thief or the believing thief asked Jesus for eternal life. The unbelieving thief, along with the other thief, soldiers, people, scribes, elders mocked Jesus and His claim to be the Christ (Messiah) in Luke 23:35, the King in Luke 23:37 & Matthew 27:42, and the Son of God in Matthew 27:40. They did this, not by asking Jesus, but by telling Him that if He was truly the One who He claimed to be then He could prove it to them by saving Himself by coming down off of the cross. It could be argued that these mocking phrases, along with the unbelieving thief’s mocking phrase, “If thou be Christ” in Luke 23:39, were in a form of a question but in context there is no way you can say that the unbelieving thief was asking Jesus for eternal life. The only salvation that the unbelieving thief wanted was to be saved from a suffering death on a cross for a crime that he had committed. The other thief, later after mocking Jesus, believed Jesus’ claim that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, etc. then he tells, not asks, Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into His Kingdom. In most translations this verse is an exclamatory sentence while other translations, as in the KJV, have it just as a statement. None of the translations that I looked at had this verse in question form saying something like “Will you, Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom?” What is really interesting, concerning the believing thief’s statement to Jesus, is Jesus’ response to the believing thief. If you will notice, Jesus did not directly confirm what the thief had said but indirectly. Jesus did this, not by telling the thief that Jesus will remember the thief in some future kingdom of His but by stressing to the thief that today the thief would be with Jesus in paradise. To me, it is clear that neither thief asked Jesus for eternal life. Preacher, are we to ask God (Jesus) for salvation (eternal life) or are we to believe God for our salvation? I believe there will be many people in the lake of fire that have asked Jesus (maybe asked God many times) to be saved but who never trusted (believed) Him as their Savior.
TRUSTING CHRIST AS SAVIOR, AS THE ONLY MEANS OF SALVATION IS THE KEY. THE GREEK WORD TRANSLATED BELIEVE IS ‘PISTEUO’ MEANING TRUST. The unbelieving thief said, “If thou be CHRIST, save thy self and us.” Luke 23:39. So he did ask for salvation but not based upon Christ’s death. He asked Christ to save HIMSELF and US. This means he wanted Christ to come down off the cross and save him which would have meant that NO ONE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED ETERNALLY. This is typical of liberal theology which teaches that we are saved by the life of Christ and not by his death. You cannot by pass the cross and get heaven.