Do you give up on people too soon because they have rejected multiple gospel presentations? Do you kiss off the guys on the corner with their pants hanging down and others as doomed for hell? Have you stopped praying for people that have been on your prayer list for years? Let’s look at the salvation experiences of two men.
My grandfather did not get saved until he was ninety years old. His story is one of grace and mercy from a merciful God. My grandfather worked hard and provided for his wife and eleven children, but he was so grumpy! During my childhood, I rarely heard my grandfather call me by my name, Carolyn. Instead he had one name for all of the grands, “devilish children” and it was said in a grumpy voice when we visited.
When I became a Christian, the Lord softened my heart for my Grandpop and I felt love for him. I also had a concern for his soul. In fear and trepidation I tried to talk to him about salvation. It usually turned into him fussing about Scriptures. I was amazed at how much Scripture he could quote but it was taken out of context and in a negative way.
There were two ladies in my hometown known for sharing the gospel. One glorious day, I got a call from my mother telling me that these two ladies had visited Grandpop, shared the gospel with him, and Grandpop had gotten saved! I could hardly believe it!
I had to see for myself so I visited as soon as I could. As soon as I approached Grandpop I could see a twinkle in his eye and he called me “granddaughter.” Imagine that! He confirmed that he had been led to Christ by the two visiting ladies. What a glorious day! I am eternally grateful to those two ladies who did not give up on a grumpy old man but were obedient to share the gospel with the whole world.
God Can Save in the Nick of Time
Grandpop only lived 6 months after his salvation but one of the criminals on the cross beside Jesus died only a few hours after his salvation. I wonder if his friends and family had believed all hope was gone for this hell-bound-criminal. I see both Grandpop and the criminal as being saved in the nick of time!
In Matthew 27: 44 and in Mark 15:32 we see the two criminals that were crucified with Jesus, mocking Jesus along with the crowd. However at some point during this death by crucifixion, one of the criminals had a change of heart. Let’s look at the account found in Luke 23:39-43.
1. We see confession of sin in the nick of time (Luke 23: 39-41).
The criminal’s confession is quite touching as he defends Jesus. He was humbled before God as he likely thought about his imminent death and eternal destiny. In contrast, the other criminal was arrogant and demanding of deliverance. He wanted deliverance, but not Jesus. Many today are like that, wanting the blessings of the Lord but the not the Lord Himself!
2. We see a call to Jesus for grace and mercy in the nick of time (Luke 23: 42).
Though we don’t know the depths of this man’s theology, he obviously had heard enough to believe that Jesus was no ordinary man and that He had a kingdom in the next life. He said “Lord, remember me when You come into your kingdom” (Luke 23: 42, NKJV). Some Bible versions say “Lord” and some say “Jesus”. Either way, Jesus knew exactly what the man meant and he saw his faith in Him. “He that calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Rom 10:13.
3. We see the immediate declaration of salvation from Jesus in the nick of time (Luke 23:43).
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
4. We see that we should respond to Jesus when He is near and not to take the nick of time for granted.
Imagine this nick of time…In about three hours after the man’s salvation, Jesus died. He died even before the two criminals died (Luke 23: 44-46 and John 19: 30-33). It makes me think of Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”
Questions for You
- Do you have full assurance that you are saved? If not, I invite you to read Romans 10:9 -10 and do what it says to do. Your nick of time could be near.
- Re-read the introduction questions. Can you think of anyone you have become weary with or even given up on? Continue those prayers and efforts to win them to Christ. My Grandpop would say …even after ninety years of trying…please don’t give up on people…God can save in the nick of time!