As Jesus hung on the cross, he was flanked by two criminals. On one side was one who hadn’t grasped who Jesus was and so mocked him, to the other side was one who knew who Jesus was and so trusted him. He realised that he was a sinner, and his sin needed dealing with. He also knew Jesus was sinless and could forgive sin. The man trusted Jesus with his life, even though he could only see another man dying on a cross. It’s true this man might well have seen Jesus performing miracles and heard reports of Jesus’ sinless nature. There was nothing to suggest any certainty in Jesus rising from the dead.
We know later in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive now. How much less of an excuse do we have for not trusting in him. From the account, we can see that it is never too late to repent and that no one is beyond saving.
This is not to say we should put off repentance until the last minute, for none of us know how we are going to die, only that we will die.
That repentance must be real though. A last minute repentance might not be anything of the sort. How many people have thought they were in their last days and ‘repented’ only to live on and live a life far from God?
The time for repentance is now, for Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jn 10:10
Whilst it might seem strange the Israelites set up an altar to sacrifice to their God after their victory over Jericho and Ai, when you look back at the commands they were given by God, they are faithfully carrying out his orders. They are thankful to the God who is worth loving. Through this sacrifice, they gave glory to the God who was victorious, who they fought for, and who they rededicated themselves to.
In addition, the law of Moses was inscribed on the altar, showing the respect they had for the law.
While the law is perfect, we are not, and so we can never live up to the requirements of the law. For it is only by faith in Christ can we be justified before God. Yet through that justification we observe the law for it is given to us by a God is loves us and is worth loving. He has given it to us because he loves us for our good.