You see, in the conversion of this thief, that salvation is distinct and separate from works. Now some people tell us we have to work to be saved. What has the man who believes that to say about the salvation of this thief? How is he going to work, when he has nails through both hands and through both feet? He cannot work with his hands or run with his feet. When he had the use of his hands, they were lifted up to shed blood; and when he had the use of his feet, they were engaged in the service of the devil.
He took the Lord at his word, and believed. It is with the heart men believe, not with their hands or feet. All that is necessary for a man to be saved is, to believe with his heart. This thief made a good confession. If he had been a Christian fifty years, he could not have done Christ more service than he did there. He confessed him before the world; and for eighteen hundred years that confession has been told. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have all recorded it. They felt it so important that they thought we should have it. Some one has said that Christ did not give the thief arms to fight for God, but he gave him wings that he might fly away to his Creator. He got an answer to his prayer as soon as he asked. He said, "Lord." He put the Lord at the head of the prayer. "Lord, remember me." Three short words—three golden links in that chain that bound him to the throne of God. The Lord could not help answering that prayer. He says he will save all that will call upon him; the man called upon him, and he had to answer the prayer.
He was led out in the morning to the cross; in the evening he was in the Paradise of God, crowned with a crown he should wear through all ages. In the morning led out to suffer punishment; in the evening, going down the streets of Paradise, arm in arm with the Son of God. In the morning, not an eye to pity &im; in the evening, up there amid the hallelujahs of heaven. In the morning, in the society of thieves.; in the evening, washed and made clean in the blood of the Lamb.
The thief was the first man to enter Paradise after the veil of the Temple was rent. If we could look up yonder, and see around the Throne; if we could catch a glimpse of the Throne, we should see the Father there and Jesus Christ at his right hand; but hard by the throne you should see that thief. He is there to-night. Eighteen hundred years he has been there, just because he cried: "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."