Luke 23:39-43 AMPJohn 14:6 AMP and Romans 5:9-11 AMP

The last few days as we look at Reconciliation we’ve been stuck laying the foundation that God’s not counting our sins against us, and that we are already all reconciled to God. If you’re not reconciled to God it’s not because it’s not available…it’s because you haven’t received it. We’ve used the analogy a few times of a marriage because when it comes to reconciliation the bible uses words like estranged, and tells us that the church is the bride of Christ.

We continue our study in Romans 5: 9 – 11. I love the book of Romans. This is one of the books that the religious people steer clear of because in it are alot of things they don’t want you to know. Whether it’s in chapter one that we read that we should never be ashamed of the gospel…because in it is the power unto salvation, and it also is the first time in this book we read that “The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17). The entire book is good, and if you haven’t I would suggest that you get a good study guide, and really get into the book of Romans. There’s alot of good stuff in Romans, and in it there’s many of the foundational truths of the Christian faith…what we believe, and why we believe what we believe.

For the today’s study…and perhaps the entire series I believe maybe we ought to continue using the Amplified version to really dig deep, and discover what we need to learn. This is one of those subjects that we could study over and over again…and learn something new every time we study it. I know that I’ve gotten fresh revelation from what we’ve read already, and with just 3 more lessons I’m believing for more fresh manna from heaven.

Let’s break today’s study down verse by verse. I sense that God’s wanting to teach a little about another subject closely related to reconciliation, and that’s justification by faith, and in verse 9 we get a look at what justification by faith is.

“Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.”

That, beloved, is verse 9. I could write an entire message on that verse alone. A good pastor could probably preach on that verse for a year because there’s so much just in this verse, but here we’re just barely going to scratch the surface.

In this verse we read the justified means acquitted, made righteous, and brought into a right relationship with God…and how is that made available to us? That’s right…the blood of Jesus. Did you know that the moment you confessed Jesus as Lord & Savior by faith…that is when justification by faith happened…you were given HIS righteousness, and immediately brought into a right relationship with God? See, here again is one of the verses that the religious world doesn’t want you to know, and understand because when you do…you really get the understanding that justification, salvation, and reconciliation is NOT your responsibility…and that there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to earn it, get it, buy it, or maintain it.

See, when you read this verse, and then you go back to read that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”…it gives you a whole new understanding. When we called upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) we were still sinners, but as soon as we made that confession we were instantly transformed from sinner to saint. Right then, right there, we were made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

It wasn’t after we were baptized, it wasn’t when we started going to church, it wasn’t when we started trying to keep the law, and it didn’t wait to happen until we were baptized with the Holy Spirit. The very instant that we were born again was the very instant that we were brought out of darkness into the light. The very instant we went from sinner to saint, and at that very moment we were brought into a right relationship with God.

Listen. The moment of conversion settled the heaven or hell issue right then and there. How do I know this? Let’s take a moment to look at one of the least talked about people in the Bible. The thief on the Cross. We find this story in Luke 23:39-43, and it gives us a picture of how simple salvation, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, and redemption is. We also find out how instant it is.

Look…the thief was ON a cross next to Jesus. If salvation, reconciliation, redemption, sanctification…if none of this was an instant transformation then Jesus lied to the thief when He told him that very day he’d be with Jesus in paradise. If the thief had to make things right, if he had to get baptized by the water & the Holy Spirit before He could be in a right relationship with God then he could not be in paradise with Jesus that very day.

The truth here is very simple, and this is the thing that the religious mind cannot get…because the Bible even says that the simplicity of this is a stumbling block. The very instant you call upon the name of the Lord…you are instantly transformed, instantly saved from an eternity in hell, and if you did nothing else at that moment and died the very moment you died you would be in paradise with Jesus.

If you believe the entirety of the Word of God…and let me be clear that I do…then you would believe just as I do when we all get to heaven the thief is going to be there to greet us just like Peter, Paul, David, Abraham, and everyone else who has gone on to be with the Lord.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot believe that justification is instant, and believe that you have to earn your way into heaven. Because YOU CAN’T. There is absolutely, positively NO way to earn your way into heaven…it cannot be done, and if you believe it can then you do not believe that the Cross was enough.

I am sorry. I warned you on day one that I was going to step on religious toes, and here is one of those moments where your going to decide to continue to follow this ministry or not.

The truth is that there is NOTHING we can do. That’s where John 14:6 comes in again. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father, but by Me. I didn’t say that…Jesus did. I didn’t tell the thief on the cross that the moment they died the would be in paradise together…Jesus did. Did Jesus lie to the thief?

Right there is the question you have to ask yourself. If there’s more to salvation, justification, sanctification, righteousness, holiness, and redemption then calling Jesus Lord…then Jesus lied to the thief on the cross, and both thieves died and went to hell. Do you believe the thief is in heaven or do you believe Jesus lied to the thief and he is in hell?

If you believe the thief is in heaven then stop trying to work to earn something you can’t. Sure, we should get baptized, we should get filled with the Holy Spirit, we should start walking with God, and we should start day by day looking more like a Christian and less like the world…but it really, truly is this simple.

I told you I could write an entire message just on verse 10, but we’re talking about reconciliation. So we have to move on or I’ll be here all day.

Look at this. Here’s verse 10. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [resurrection] life.”

I’m sorry. This is going to be another long message, but I’ve got to get all of this out. It’s vital as Christians that we understand that these are foundational truths.

Yesterday the Lord spoke this to my spirit, and here today is the confirmation in the Word of God about what He spoke. “We all died on the Cross with Christ. We all went to hell with Christ. We all rose again with Christ blameless, holy, and in right standing with God.”

We have read twice now that there is nothing that can be much more certain, and the punch line of what we it is we can’t be much more certain of is this…we are reconciled.  We are reconciled to God.  It didn’t say we might be, we could be, we should be, we can be or we will be…it says we are.

We are is present tense.  That means right now at this very moment if you have believed in your heart the what the Bible says about Jesus and the Cross is true, and based upon that belief you confessed that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior by calling upon Him as Lord…then you are fully, flawlessly, and perfectly reconciled to God…now…today…at this very moment…and there’s nothing that you can do or not do that changes the fact that you are reconciled to God.

Look.  You there isn’t anything that you could do to earn it, and there’s nothing that you can do to lose it.  It wasn’t yours to gain, and it wasn’t yours to lose because salvation, reconciliation, right standing before God, holiness, sanctification, redemption, and eternal life had NOTHING to do with you.

That is why John 14:6 is such a mystery to religious people.  That is why no one wants to talk about the thief on the cross because what the story of the thief on the cross proves is that there is nothing you or I can do, but call upon Jesus as Lord in order to receive what He did for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.

No one ever really tells the story about the thief on the cross do they?  You know why?  Because it’s not very religious.

It sounds right and good to hear that in order to be fully reconciled to God you have to be water baptized…but was the thief water baptized?  Did we read that the thief was allowed to get down off of his cross long enough to go to the water, and get baptized?  No…we don’t do we.  What we read is Jesus saying to Him “this day you will be with me in paradise’.  If water baptism was required…Jesus couldn’t promise the thief that he’d be in paradise…He would’ve had to ask the thief if he had ever been baptized, and then when the thief said no…Jesus would’ve had to tell the thief that he could not enter in to paradise…but Jesus didn’t tell him that did He?  No…because at the very moment the thief believed in his heart, and called Jesus “Lord”…he was instantly reconciled to God…right there on the cross.

Here’s another one that really is hard to fathom, but it also sounds right to say that unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit you cannot be reconciled to God.  After all, that’s one of the evidences of salvation, and some preach that if you don’t speak in tongues then you are not saved.

Let’s go back to the thief.  There’s no evidence at all that the thief was baptized with the Holy Spirit is there?  Do we read that the thief was overcome by the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.  No we don’t.  Why?  Well for one, the Holy Spirit hadn’t come yet.  Two, there’s nothing more in the scriptures about that moment.  So, there’s nothing suggesting that the thief had a Holy Ghost moment on the cross is there?  Yet, Jesus said this day you will be with me in paradise.  I believe that another thing we receive at the moment of conversion is the Holy Spirit because when Christ comes into our hearts…He comes in as the third person of the Trinity.

Just because the evidence of speaking in tongues isn’t immediately seen doesn’t negate the fact that when you called upon Jesus as Lord you were saved.  How do we know that?  Because if that was required the thief would’ve had to wait until the Holy Spirit was released on the earth, be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and then speak in tongues before He was eligible to enter paradise…but the thief didn’t have to do that did he.  He couldn’t do that because they all died before the Holy Spirit came to the upper room.

So, if Holy Spirit baptism was a requirement of salvation then the thief isn’t in paradise.  Jesus once again lied to the thief, and instead of greeting us when we get to heaven…the thief is in hell.

Here really again is the question you need to meditate upon.  Is the thief in heaven or is he in hell?  If you believe the thief is in heaven…the you believe the Word of God is absolutely perfect, flawless, and truth.  If you believe the thief is in hell…then you believe Jesus is a liar, that God’s Word is not perfect, and that it’s all lies.

Look…either the Bible is all true or it’s all a lie.  You can’t talk about the Bible, and say there are “some” contradictions”.  The Word of God is black and white.  It’s either all truth or its all lies.  You cannot have it both ways, and there isn’t a grey area allowed when it comes to the Bible.  Either you believe the Word of God in it’s entirety or you do not…you cannot partially believe the Word, and partially believe it’s a lie…and I for one believe that it is all true.  Therefore…I believe the thief is going to greet me in heaven right along side Peter, Paul, John, David, and even my grandmother.

Verse 11 reads:  “Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation.”

We have NOW received and enjoy our reconciliation.  If you have done Romans 10:9-10, and Romans 10:13…you are NOW in possession and enjoying reconciliation with God.

Like Paul writes.  I don’t know how to make it much more certain than that we are NOW and forever reconciled to God…not because of anything we do…but because of what Jesus did.

There is no other way to reconciliation with God.  There is no other way to receive reconciliation with God.  There is no way to earn it, there is no way to work for it, there is no need to pray for it, there’s no need to hope for it, there is no need to ask for it, and there is no need to do anything other that to receive it…because it is made available solely through Jesus Christ…and if your trying to obtain it any other way…you cannot have it.

Let me say that again.  If you are trying to be reconciled to God by any other means than to accept it, and receive it by accepting and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord…you cannot, will not, and are not reconciled to God.  Because reconciliation has nothing to do with you…it’s all about Jesus and the Cross.

I know this message has been long, and I’m about to close it with this…

Another thought is that you cannot receive reconciliation with God because you have to clean up your life, and then come back to God when you’ve done so.  Then you can be reconciled to God, and you will be able to receive salvation.

Okay, this one is going to be simple.  Did the thief have time to get down off of his cross, and undo the thieving he did?  Of course not.  Did we read where Jesus said to him.  “I’m sorry, you cannot be with Me in paradise because you have not atoned for your sins.”  We don’t do we?  What do we read?  “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.”

You know what that says?  “Today, right now, you are reconciled to God, and you will be with Me in paradise.”  He tells the thief…today…right now…at this very instant you have received all that I am about to do.  You are saved, you are redeemed, you are in right standing with the Father, and you are going to be in paradise with Me…today.

If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord, if you have been trying to earn your reconciliation, if you have been trying to obtain that which is only available through Jesus Christ…then today is your opportunity to do just what the thief on the Cross did.

Yes, on this side of eternity we do have the opportunity to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and have the evidence of speaking in tongues.  We do have the opportunity to join a church, get water baptized, and learn to become more Christlike every day.

You can come to God right now as you are, and you can be reconciled to God…right now today…at this very moment…and yes it will be done instantly.  All that is necessary is to repeat this simple prayer…and you…like the thief on the Cross will enter into a right relationship with God.

“Dear Jesus, I want you to come into my heart! THANK you for dying on the cross for my sins so that I could be fully accepted by you. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life with God. I give my heart to you. In Jesus name I pray…Amen”

Friends, if you prayed that simple prayer…it’s finished.  You are saved, you are reconciled to God, and you have just received eternal life.

If you have already said that prayer, and you are a believer.  Then stop trying to earn something that was freely supplied…and do like Paul writes…and enjoy your reconciliation with the Father…because you are already reconciled to God.

Not because of anything you did, but because of what Jesus did…in your place.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24)

Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer