Trust God’s Timing
Conversion can happen instantaneously. Some have a hard time believing that, especially when they hear of someone coming to faith who has committed a terrible crime.
They may say, “Well, isn’t that convenient? I doubt that person really has become a Christian.” Maybe not. But then again, maybe so. Conversion can take place instantaneously in any life.
It’s worth noting that both criminals who were crucified with Jesus heard Him say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Yet one believed and one did not. That is the mystery of the gospel. One can hear the gospel proclaimed and say, “Yes, I believe that” and give his or her life to Christ. Another, hearing the same message, can be absolutely unmoved and continue in his or her sin.
Interestingly, one criminal started correcting the other, who had said to Jesus, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us” (verse 39). The Bible says he “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’” (verses 40–41).
Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (verse 42). Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Here was this man facing eternal separation from God, and he was crucified next to God incarnate, who pardoned him on the spot, absolved him of all sin, and was ready to take him into paradise with Him.
God desires for people to come to faith, but He also has His timing. I don’t know when that time is. But we have to leave it in the hands of God.
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