There is a story, told as true, about a man (who also is a believer in Jesus Christ) who owned a lumber yard. One night, two thieves began to steal his lumber by loading it onto their truck. In a non-resistant way he came to help them. After asking them what they wanted the lumber for, the owner kindly informed them that the lumber they were loading was not the best for their intended use, but if they would back their truck up over where the better lumber was (for their intended use), he would help them load it. As the two thieves and the owner were loading the better lumber, it finally dawned on one of the thieves to ask how he knew so much about lumber- it was then that the two thieves were humbled with the truth that the very man they were selfishly stealing from was the owner who instead of un-forgivingly, revengefully returning evil back: was forgivingly, lovingly giving to them: that the very one that they did not care for out of concern only for themselves, was the very one who was more concerned for them and their eternal souls than he was for himself and caring for his own temporary possessions.
After experiencing and receiving a real life example of the love of Jesus from the owner, apparently the 2 men were so broken and humbled over the owner’s unselfish, nonresistant attitude to their covetousness, that they repented of their sins and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They believed in Jesus Christ as the needed Reality in their lives, who had given this man the reality of a heart more concerned about their souls and pleasing the Lord than about his lumber. This revealed God’s mercy to them (“I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, “and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before…And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet (Jesus Christ) shall be utterly destroyed from among the people…. “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” (Acts 3:19-26 NKJV)) This truly was a time of refreshing of new life given by God for these two men, as God had used this Christian man to bring these two thieves to the point of repentance and believing in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Jesus met these two men to where they could not only see their need of forgiveness and repentance, but could also choose to humble themselves to receive His virtuous power to meet their need to be set free from their sin (“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble”).
How about you and I? Do we see our need? Have we come to the place of broken-hearted repentance over how our sins have hurt the Lord Jesus? We have coveted, taken what belongs to God (everything,) and selfishly lived for ourselves. What does our sin deserve? Immediate death, vengeance, and justice.
But this is God’s response –longsuffering! He gives opportunity to be delivered from the death we deserve. He responds in holy love and returns to us good for evil (His Goodness for our wickedness.) “But God commendeth His Love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we see Jesus’ example of unselfishness, love, longsuffering, and goodness –shouldn’t our hearts break in true repentance; and faith in such a loving God who would provide a Way of forgiveness and redemption through the Blood of His Son? Do we see our need for true belief in Jesus Christ and the new life that he wants to give?
Have you and I experience this new life that only believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God can bring (“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”)? Will we truly believe Him ? Will we forsake all in belief that Jesus Christ’s blood that was given for us on the cross can cleanse and free us from our old selfish, sinful, stealing-for-self: and that God’s resurrection power can put Jesus’ new life of loving, giving-all-of-self obedience to God’s will into our hearts? Do we want to receive Jesus Christ and believe in His power to become a child of God to live out the new righteous life that the Father will give us through faith in Christ?
The love of Jesus was received by one (of the two) of the thieves that was crucified beside Him on the cross and the power of Jesus’ love had immediate and life transforming results. Both thieves on the cross, in unbelief, had been mocking Jesus, persecuting Him by rejecting and doubting Him to be the Son of God – denying Jesus to be King of their lives. But one of the thieves, after experiencing the forgiving, suffering, self-sacrificing, non-resistant, trusting (in God the Father) attitude of Jesus showed to all but now particularly toward him and his mockingly persecuting unbelief: then experienced the fear of God (with deserved judgment) with a now repentant attitude as it became evident that he now believed in Jesus, the Son of God, as His King with the hope of Christ’s resurrection Kingdom.
Oh, how deserving we are of eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire if we neglect such a great Salvation! A Salvation from sin (self) that is a gift of God to not only deliver from guilt, but give the power to resist sin. It enables us to have the abundant life and holy character of Christ living within each one of us that truly believes. Let us humble ourselves today, and bow our knees and hearts in praise –and cries for mercy from such a loving God. Today can be our day to visited with God’s life-giving (death-delivering) presence.