The thief who died next to Jesus on the cross did few if any good deeds and none in Jesus's name, but he was saved simply by accepting Jesus, not by any actions or good works. Why did God choose to save us by faith, vs. by works?
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The thief only found Jesus at the very end of his life, so didn't have a chance to do many good deeds. But what he did do was soften his heart when he heard and saw him suffering, imagine hearing Jesus asking God to forgive them, when they are slaughtering him? He knew he was God's son, even to humble himself to ask Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. He also confessed his sins even saying he deserved to die, but Jesus didn't deserve to die because he was innocent. The other thief on the other hand who was more selfish was putting the emphasis on himself expecting jesus to save him. But Jesus ignored him he knew God had opened the other man's heart. This must have lifted Jesus so much at the end of his life. When he saved another soul. As Jesus says in luke 15:7 " Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost, I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven, over one sinner that repenteth more than 99 just persons that need no repentance." this he spoke because the scribes and pharisees were so sure they were saved and complained about him eating with sinners. God looks first at the heart and not the outward appearance when people only look the part but don't live it out! Although once we love God the works will follow, because when you see the need, your heart should melt, just like Jesus' did when he saw need in people. If we follow him, our hearts will be like his. As James said in James 2:18, 'yea a man may say, thou has faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.' if you love God and let Christ in your heart you will show your faith by your works.
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