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How Could the Thief on the Cross Be Saved? - Ask Pastor Tim

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Some ask, “How was the thief on the cross saved if he didn’t live a righteous life?” Let us consider what this implies about how they believe a person is declared right before God.

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Original question: Please clarify this for me. Regarding the theif on the cross. How do you compare his salvation with ours? I mean, he did not live a good life at all. He did not show any fruit of repentance. He did not live right, yet Jesus saved him anyway. How was Jesus able to save him when we are clearly instructed to live right and to turn from sin? As I understand it, he was the only one in scripture who had this deathbed salvation so we can’t rely on that but you know what I mean?