Luke 23:32, 40-43
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. The [criminal said,] “…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.”
Two convicts hung on either side of Jesus – one mocked and the other was accepted. Why? Proverbs gives us the answers…
The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin. 10:8
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. 10:17
What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
but the desire of the righteous will be granted. 10:24
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom. 11:2
With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered. 11:9
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid. 12:1
The thoughts of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 12:5
In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death. 12:28
There were two men dying next to Jesus. But one took responsibility for his sins and accepted his punishment as just. He was humble and teachable of heart. This man was counted righteous – not because of his gleaming record (he was a criminal!) but because of the humble state of his heart and his trust in the person of Jesus. God declared him righteous by His GRACE. The righteous man would live with Jesus in Paradise.
The book of Proverbs consistently teaches that those who receive reproof with teachable hearts are considered righteous – but those who despise reproof are fools. And so it is with the gospel, you have to know you’re a sinner to recognize your need for a Savior. Those righteous in their own eyes will perish.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).