Training for the Cross - Bible Study

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Two Robbers

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).

"Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him" (Mark 15:32).
Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King


Greetings, fellow lost and found!

I was sitting here with a list of subjects to expand on, but with no definite direction from God. Then I realized it doesn't matter this time, because the list was given to me in the course of seeking His face. Just step in the water and let Him part it.

Have you ever noticed how one subject always ties you to another as we contemplate God's word and the Holy Spirit's teaching? Why is that? Maybe because that is completion; you can't have part of something without the one part existing and influencing the other part.

I don't believe that God wrote His word without every jott and tittle having a meaning or purpose. Nothing was written to fill space between two subjects.

That being said - let's step in!

As Jesus hangs on the Cross for the world's sin, there hang beside Him two men, both robbers. In Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32, scripture says that they reviled Him along with the multitude. Then in Luke 23:39-43, as one robber blasphemes Christ, the other rebukes him and asks him why he doesn't fear God when he himself is being put to death the same way. Then the good robber (if you could call him that) admits to their guilt and the justness of their punishment. Not only that, but he defends Jesus as being innocent, and then goes even further to ask the Lord to remember him.

What just happened? One minute this robber was a part of the crowd and the next he had set himself apart. I believe God allowed him to have a revelation. Remember, crucifixion wasn't a fast death. So he had been mocking Christ for probably hours with the crowd. I can imagine him getting quieter and quieter as his thoughts began to wander to what he had heard of this man beside him, this King of the Jews. Some time in those few hours there was an uprooting!

I'm sure there are many different ways this account could teach us. As I write this I see more of them.

Here is one thing God has revealed to me.

So how does this apply to us now?

On one side we have the old man representing our sinful, carnal nature, and on the other side we have the new man that just experienced a revelation. Jesus hangs between the two, the gateway to salvation and eternal life.

Those of you who know who Christ is, know what the old and new man are and the difference.

Romans 5:12 and Romans Chapter 6, speak of that. We often find ourselves struggling to keep from returning to the old man's ways. Paul talks about the battle between his flesh (the old man) and his redeemed new man, who walks according to the Spirit (Romans 7:13-25).

How do we crucify the old man as Paul talks about in Galatians 5:24? How do we nourish the new man Christ has made us?

We crucify one by feeding the other. Did you notice in Romans 7:23-25 that Paul talks of his mind? In Romans 8:7 it says that my carnal mind is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God.

That tells me that I need to subject my mind to the things of God, because I'm not naturally going to do that.

You see, as we look at the two robbers, we see ourselves. We see on one side our natural, carnal nature, and on the other side, that self that had a revelation and became redeemed through Christ.

Does revelation stop there? It dare not! I believe we have to continue to have revelations of who God is and how He works in order to feed our new self. If revelation stops, the Spiritual growth stops.

Here is a revelation that God gave me as He began to mold me into something useful. My thoughts are not my own. They either come from the Trinity, my flesh, this world, or Satan (basically unbelief). Now if we go too far this could get complicated - for now, let's keep it simple. My thoughts are either from God or they are unbelief. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal that unbelief to me and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:4-6), and hold it up to the Cross. If it does not measure up to the Cross, I cast it down and move on. In doing so, I begin to subject my mind to the law of God. I set myself up for fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit.

What I put in my mind is what is on my heart and what comes out of my mouth. Jeremiah 11:20, 17:10, and Revelation 2:23 state that God will search our hearts and test our minds.

Matthew 12:34 states that out of the abundance of our heart our mouth speaks. If I don't fill my mind with the goodness of God, how can I have the mind of Christ? How can I have a sound mind? How then can I have that redeemed life that He has promised me? How can I experience Him in His fullness?

Father, I lift up those of us struggling between the old man and the new. I pray that we would begin to subject our minds to you, Lord, so that you could bless us with that revelation that stills our mind and stirs our spirit. Thank you, Father, for your Word that is sharper than any two-edged sword. I pray that the power behind it may begin to sever the old man from the new man, so that we might walk with You in Paradise on a daily basis.

May God's revelation cause a revolution between our nature and our righteousness.

Ty Van Norman

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