Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Welcome friends to another week. Years ago, a friend needed an automobile. As agreed, the friend promised to pay the monthly payment and insurance. Shortly afterward, the person wrecked the vehicle. After the accident, the friend did not make any more payments toward the balance, pay the insurance, or attempt to help repair it. I drove the truck home.
Many of us think of theft as someone violating our possessions by stealing or robbery. One of the best-known thefts is shoplifting. If a person keeps merchandise, they know it does not belong to them; it is theft. Though the criminal justice system makes some accountable for their crimes, many go unpunished as they escape the system. There are too many crimes to solve. For example, in some cities, more than 6,616 vehicle thefts occurred in one year, and in another city, there were more than 2,194 cases of credit card fraud. Punishment ranges from about six months to less than one year in jail, while others may larger.
Though the Bible did not have the types of thefts above, there were thefts. We call some petty thefts, while others may be grand larceny. That said, God includes theft in his commandments. “Thou shalt not steal.”(Exodus 20:15). The Bible references thieves 24 times. What is the difference between thieves today and thieves across the centuries? Nothing. Thieves today have more ingenious ways of stealing versus thieves of old. Punishments also differ. In the Old Testament, thieves paid double the value. (Exodus 22:7) They also died in Deuteronomy 24:7. Today, some thieves serve jail time which is why David’s son says, “That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
Is there any difference between thieves, drunks, idolaters, greedy people, prostitutes, homosexuals, or anyone not saved? No. Anyone committing these sins will all end up in Hell for rejecting Jesus. Sin begins in the heart. See the bottom for the good news.
Matthew 15:17-19 says: Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly and then out of the body? But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies.
“The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10
While hanging on the cross, one thief mocked Jesus, while the other said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, saying, “Assuredly I tell you, today, you will be with me in Paradise.” One thief on the cross was willing to take his punishment, which was death; he knew he messed up, while the other had an attitude, as we say today.
The thief admitting his guilt, said: “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:41-43.
The thief believed in Jesus and concluded he needed him. He knew he was guilty. Jesus saved him. No one baptized him, nor did he do any works. He just believed. The other thief did not choose salvation but rather mocked Jesus.
My friends, many thieves in the world steal time, money, and other things. For example, Judas was also a thief (John 12:6) who allowed Satan to put the betrayal in his heart (Luke 22:3); instead of being saved, though he felt remorse, he chose to kill himself. (Matthew 27:5)
Everyone has a choice to follow Christ or Satan. The thief on the cross chose to believe in Christ. Many do not choose Christ but rather follow Satan. They are happy in their sins. The choice is ours. No one can make a person choose Christ. Christ does not twist anyone’s arm. He allows us to have free will. Sadly, when things go wrong in a person’s life, they sometimes blame God, not themselves. Therefore, people reject Christ’s gift daily. It is easier to choose to do wrong than right.
The good news is this: Christ did not die in vain. He died, so many who believe in him will not go to Hell. The only criteria is believing he is Christ and that he died for our sins. It is so simple. However, belief has to come from the heart and not the head. We can believe in the head like Judas or the heart like the thief.
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