Years ago my husband and I were visiting a friend in the hospital, her diagnosis was grim but she still managed to smile. She asked me about my writing and I told her that I was working on a book. Her husband looked at her and said, “You always said you would write a book one day.” She never did. Sadly her story is a very common one. You may have heard it before; “I’ll travel and take that art class one day.” Or, “I’ll rest and enjoy life when I retire. “ Even sadder are the Believers who say; “One day I’ll have my peace and joy, when I get to Heaven.”
While at the Post Office my mother and I were griping about how we really needed to slow down and take a break. The gentlemen standing behind us politely cut in and said, “You’ll get plenty of rest when you’re dead.” We laughed at this but later I thought, “Could it be that peace, joy and rest could only be had when we get to Heaven?
A Thief Made Whole
Two thieves hung on either side of Jesus as He hung on the cross. One thief mocked Him the other rebuked the thief and boldly confessed that Jesus was innocent and underserving of this punishment. Then he turned to Him and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Listen to what Jesus says, “Truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise.” –Luke23: 39-43
Let’s fast-forward, Jesus died later that day. The following day the Jewish leaders wanted to take the bodies down, for the sake of their traditions. They broke the legs of the two criminals because they were still alive; when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead they pierced His side. Jesus was dead, the thief was alive but didn’t Jesus promise him that he would be in paradise with Him today?
The Promise of Today
1John says that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God. Romans 10 says if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. Picture the thief on the cross, he may have been nailed to a cross but he was set free. No longer a thief but Saved. Imagine the peace he had with the hope Jesus had given him, a peace that became his, Today.
This thief received the gift of paradise Today but how much more is your peace and joy in the fullness and finished work of Christ right now. The thief had a promise but you my friend received the fulfillment of the Promise. You were raised up with Christ and received the Spirit of Sonship through His finished work. You are clothed in His Righteousness, sealed by His blood, filled with His Holy Spirit. You are saved, justified, at peace with God. The kingdom of God is not only with you but it is in you.
I believe the very moment you come to Jesus with a sincere heart and believe that your are the object of His great love and affection, salvation is yours, healing and deliverance is yours, freedom is yours. Peace, joy and love are yours. Paradise is yours even as you lay in a hospital bed, sit in a prison cell or hang on a cross. You are seated with Christ, as Christ is so are you on this earth, not when you get your self together, or when you get to Heaven. Not some day but right now in Christ.
My friend if you are in Christ, Paradise and all it has to offer is yours in Him right now, so what are you waiting for!