The thief (robber) on the cross couldn't get baptized and was still saved. How can we explain that? Do extraordinary faith and confession of Jesus as Lord save us, as demonstrated by this robber (Luke 23:43)? I'm sure he probably repented, too. -- Andreas
The thief couldn't be baptized, and even if he could have come down from the cross, still was not commanded to! He was not an exception to the command to be baptized because that command had not yet been revealed. He was no more required to be baptized than Cain and Abel were required to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. To claim otherwise is to commit an anachronism. The thief lived and died under the old covenant. Baptism is a new covenant act of obedience.
However--and maybe here I am addressing a question you never meant to ask--I do think the passage is exceptional and teaches us some important things about our God:
* The fairness of God: Two thieves in what appear to be identical circumstances respond differently, though both had a chance. Only the one willing to humble himself before the Lord made it.
* The heart of Jesus: Even as he hung dying on the cross, Jesus Christ gave his life to others. Not in his death, but before his death, in a situation in which thinking of others must have been extremely difficult.
* The window of opportunity: It's never too late to come to Him.
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