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
Well, no one could have pointed out a better Biblical example to demonstrate between what is acceptable to God and what is not, other than the story of the penitent thief in Luke 23:39-43.
Did the grateful thief believe in Christ Jesus? Implicitly, he did, and no one can deny that. And I’m not here either to tell you he did not. Rather, I’m going to show you exactly what he did, that demonstrated his belief in Christ, although the Bible never literally recorded and said he professed with his mouth, and said he believed.
Read carefully what he said, 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. … “Lord, REMEMBER ME when You come into your kingdom.”
The first thing this guy said was, “Lord, I believe in You.” No? Or did he say, “Don’t you fear God?”
The thief himself, a sinner and a condemned soul, somehow manage to come to his senses, that salvation begins with “fearing God”. And it is undoubtedly that the fear he had for God, led him to greater Wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 9:10), that subsequently gave him the ability of knowing that as a sinner, he deserves condemnation. The thief also knew what is just (God’s justice) and because of God’s justice, he knew he deserves the penalty for his deeds (Romans 2:6).
Then the thief declared that Christ did nothing wrong, but yet He was pinned to the Cross next to other sinners. This fact clearly showed the extent of what He knew that the other thief did not know; the undeniable truth that Christ came and died as a sinless Man, while all sinful men deserves condemnation. Finally, HE PLEADED WITH CHRIST, to have mercy and to remember him in the time of the coming of His kingdom.
That my friends, in essence, is what believing in Christ is all about. And you and I can systematically break this down into 5 things; (1) fear God, (2) recognize our sins, (3) recognize God’s justice, (4) recognize that Christ died as a sinless Man, (5) recognize that before God; we only have the power to plead for mercy and have no power to demand salvation from Him.
In all, it has nothing to do with saying with our lips or tongue that we believe.
Believing Is No Metaphorical Afterthought
The title above, is what man made out their false gospel to be; we took our metaphorical afterthoughts and started teaching others – that is how we should believe in Christ Jesus. Then the teachings are fused together with the immutable notion that such claims to salvation by the word “believe” as defined by man, cannot be challenged or questioned, as though it is in man’s power and authority to decide who shall be accepted or rejected by God. No, believing in Christ is way more than just acknowledging an intellectual fact.
In my ex-church, it goes even further than this; if you challenge this norm, you are also a demon, an unbeliever and the rest will repeatedly question you why you have lost your faith. That is exactly how my family was treated; text messages were sent out to all others, informing the world to pray for me and my family, for we were said to have left the faith. But these fools probably never thought it over before they acted, that by doing what they did, their deeds actually raised more questions than giving answers; are they actually doing this because they showed that they really care or are they merely devising schemes to hurt and insult my family and me?
The Bible said believe. The Bible said have faith. And the Bible told us to repent. But I find it strange how some among us could define believe, faith and repent as things we need not undertake. Aren’t these verbs in the English language that by definition alone are words in syntax that are suppose to convey actions or occurrences?
And before I continue, allow me to make it clear that I’m not the one telling you that you need to be baptized in order to be saved. Neither did I teach you to speak in tongues nor encouraged you to go on any mission trips. In fact, I’m already done and over with all this garbage taught inside our churches, that have being passed down to Christians for generations, as though good works are necessary to lead us to Christ.
But make no mistake about this; no sinners’ prayer will save you either. And I never believed this fable that have been programmed into the minds of believers for centuries, as if we have the right to accept Christ and as though the authority to do that is well within the palm of our hands. There’s no such thing as closing your eyes, saying with your mouth you believe and accepting Him, then “whalaaa”, you wake up as a new born-again person the next minute. Nowhere in the Bible taught us that divine acceptance by God is rested anywhere near our human prerogatives at all.
We can do as much as receiving Him, but it is well within God’s absolute right, pleasure and power to rule whether He wants to accept us or otherwise (John 1:12). If you put in some efforts to even find out what justice is all about (like how the penitent thief understood what is just), soon you’ll probably come to terms that acceptance is actually a much bigger word; acceptance is the reaction to an offer that forms and establishes binding covenants. And we have been instructed in Romans 12:1 to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, to be holy, so that we may be acceptable by God. Therefore it is you and me who needs to initiate the offer and it is God who decides, whether or not He is willing to accept us.
And if you think giving money to the poor and needy, is good for you to earn some brownie points from God, then do it, by all means. But please do not imply that by what you are doing, that you think is good for you, should also be done the same by others around you and done in the same manner as you are doing it. It would be fairly reasonable to say, not everyone in the world could be as well off as you are, having lots of spare cash to give away. For the record, I stopped giving not in this sense but because those who took from me are cheating me instead of using the money for what it is intended for.
Or if you believe that by haphazardly forgiving (note I use the phrase “haphazard forgiving”) others without questioning, is the way to go, then I must say no one in the world is going to stop you either. And if you believe that this is the truth and this is what God expects from us as the divine justification to be forgiven by God, then I only have this to say; that you might have also been cheated and not knowing you are being cheated into surrendering what is well within your authority, into the hands of other people having nefarious motives. It is one thing to serve, to give and to forgive, but it is quite another matter altogether to be used, cheated or to be deceived. The former leads man to life whereas the latter to damnation, as in how it happened to Eve at the garden.
The Bible taught us this, … whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them … (Matthew 7:12). Therefore, if others are not doing to you what you expected them to do to you, may I suggest that we first check ourselves; did we actually do to others what we desire of them to do to us. Likewise, if no one forgives us, then this should beget some serious questioning on ourselves and our deeds. And if the Bible does not wake us up to the simple truth that it is we sinners who need to change and not Christ or those who did what is right, may I propose that you move on and start to carelessly accept the consequences of sin, as in how you might have also carelessly claimed that you have the right to accept (or reject) God.
Anyone who thinks they can talk their way into being accepted by God, or worse – they thought they have the power to accept God, is no better than to deliberately attempt to coerce God to enter into a covenant with them, not to put them to death, in exchange for their worthless metaphorical afterthoughts. This is nothing less than treating God and His Wisdom with bad insult, as if God Himself does not have the freewill to decide.
So, is this even theology at all? No, I don’t think so. This is just plain, reading straight from the Bible, and telling you exactly what the Bible is telling me. To me, theology is when preachers start formulating their own worthless theories around the Bible truth, such as associating Christian living with the sun, the moon and the stars, although clearly the Bible taught us that the heavens and the skies are God’s way of describing to us; time and space. I’ll elaborate on this at another time.
Or theology is to some frivolous pastors; teaching others the theory that those who opposes you can be automatically labelled as demons in disguise simply because you claim you are anointed by God, while these preachers openly dish out various eccentric opinions such as “give your pain to Jesus, and He will give you the strength to accomplish the impossible”. Or worse, those speaking-into-existence false prophets who believe they can play God and talk things into happening, and teaching others that they can do the same as them. What absolute rubbish!
In fact, what our churches are doing today is no different from what the other thief was doing; questioning God’s authority, demanding and challenging Christ to prove Himself; that if He says He is who He said He is, therefore our feeble minds equates it to – He must save all sinners.
Familiar, isn’t it? When we see people in churches praying and demanding miracles from God, as though Christ must prove Himself to man, otherwise people will walk out from the churches. Well, I am one of them who walked out, but not for not believing, but rather for saying enough is enough with all these heresies.
Another example; how over the past two years we have seen so many people from all walks of life having made their decision to be inoculated, after consultation with people whom they thought are certified medical experts who cared about their well-being. While some, after talking it over with their own church leaders, in what they became convinced is God’s way of fighting what their preachers described as the evil pandemic from the devil. And in the process of exercising self-wisdom and their own self-righteousness, the minority who refused to entertain their lunacy were ridiculed by them as outcasts and called the demons responsible for causing divisions in the church.
Not too longer ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released documents, outlining that drug-maker Pfizer recorded nearly 160,000 adverse reactions to its inoculation drug, during the initial months of its roll-out. By now, the damage is already done and is irreversible. It is as though the angel of death has been unleashed, and he is now sweeping across nations, striking mankind, regardless of skin color, rich or poor, small and great alike.
But the churches and their preachers, in their real form; will do nothing to reconcile the divide and the hurt they caused among God’s people. Each man is only for himself, and the souls whom by now knew what they did is not right, are busy fighting to keep themselves and their loved ones alive. At most, these are people in houses of prayer but to call them as the Church of Christ, would have been highly inappropriate.
In Malaysia alone, unvaccinated individuals are not allowed to step inside houses of worship, including all churches. It probably never crossed the thinking caps of our preachers, why would a just God do such things as to prevent a certain number of people from attending church to worship Him, and even if it is so, why did He not allow such practices to be stopped during the past two years. If you have ears, you would have heard and if you have eyes, you would have probably seen. And you would have known the meaning of the sentences written between the lines – that were hidden from the sights of carnal men.
And Before You Brag About Faith
So, before we even try to demonstrate and pass off human foolishness as the Gospel truth, take a second look at ourselves, our own state of affairs and start by fearing God before all else. Look to those around you and I, people that we might have offended or oppressed.
What makes you and I think that if we could use the Gospel as the compelling excuse for the accusers we can see, that they all must be commanded to automatically forgive others? And likewise if we are capable of treating people we can see like that, what makes us think we cannot pull off similar stunts with the real God we cannot see, and demanding that He too should automatically forgive us, without reason?
If we compel others and forcefully instruct them to forgive us, we are no better than the other thief who said to Jesus, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” And the Bible said this is utter blasphemy.
Therefore, before we claim we are doing what is right before the real God that we cannot see, start by doing the same to those whom we can already see. Like the word believe, faith is also not suppose to be a metaphorical afterthought coming from our own worthless figment of imagination.
The attention is always on the penitent thief who is saved because he believed in a forgiving God. But we seldom ask why our forgiving God did not save the other thief as well.