I saw a thought this weekend about the three crosses when Jesus was crucified. The Bible tells us that when Jesus was crucified, He was placed in between two criminals. All three were being executed. All three were dying. During that horrible afternoon, both of those criminals mocked Jesus. Somewhere near the end of their lives, one of those criminals repented and begged in faith for Jesus’ mercy. One of those criminals never repented (as far as we know).
Matthew 27:38,44 – Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left…And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
Luke 23:39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
So what do you have? You have one man, Jesus, who was dying on behalf of sin, the sins of the world. Another man, the unrepentant criminal, was dying in his sin. The other thief who repented was dying to his sin.
What about you and me? We can’t die for sin like Jesus did. Only Jesus could die for the sins of the world. But I have two choices: am I going to die in my sins, or am I going to die to my sins?
1 Peter 2:24-25 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.