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What about the thief on the cross?
Bible study on baptism and the thief on the cross.

Who was the thief? We do not know.

Had the thief on the cross been baptized? We do not know.

  • Had the thief been baptized by John the Baptist? We do not know.
  • Had the thief been baptized by one of the apostles? We do not know.

Was the thief a Jew or a Gentile? We do not know.

  • If he was a Jew, had he offered the appropriate sacrifice so that his sins were forgiven? We do not know.
  • If he was a Gentile, had he already been forgiven under the Gentile law? We do not know.
  • If he was a disciple of Jesus Christ, had he been baptized and repented of the sin for which he was being crucified? Had he been forgiven days before he was crucified? We do not know.

When Jesus told the thief that he would be in paradise, was Jesus stating a fact which He knew to be true? Or, did Jesus forgive his sins? We do not know.

  • Jesus could have been stating a fact about the thief, whose sins had been forgiven under the Mosaic law or the Gentile law.
  • Jesus does not say that He forgave the thief. We cannot assume that Jesus forgave the thief's sins.

We do not know whether or not Jesus forgave the thief's sins on the cross. Even if Jesus forgave the thief's sins during crucifixion, it means nothing in respect to our salvation today.

  • Jesus forgave people of their sins while He was on earth (Lk. 5:17-26).
  • When Jesus forgave people on earth, it did not change the terms of salvation for anyone else.
    • E.g., Jesus forgave the paralytic (Lk. 5:17-26), but the other Jews still had to meet the terms of salvation stated in God's word - offer sacrifices.
  • The thief on the cross has nothing to do with our salvation. His salvation does not prove that we are forgiven without obeying Jesus' command to be baptized (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16; cf. Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The thief lived during a different dispensation than we live today.

I hope you can see that we cannot make any statements regarding our salvation based on the thief's salvation. The fact is, we do not know anything about his salvation from which we can make any conclusions.