Repenting Like the Criminal Crucified beside Jesus

Brian Vic M. Abucay |  Philippines

Good day. I’m Brian Vic M. Abucay, and I am 27 years old. I’m working in Church Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental Philippines.
For the past 5 to 6 months I have been struggling to know if the salvation I received during one conference in Cagayan de Oro, in 2009, was clear, if I was really saved.
I know that during the time of counseling when the missionary explained about the forgiveness of sins, he explained that God had already forgiven all my sins. When he explained writing “SINS” on a piece of paper, I believed in that and I believed that the day was my true realization of salvation.

Even so the reason that I was not sure about my salvation was that the process of my salvation was so short, and my mind was focused directly on the forgiveness of sins. I always heard from many counselors and I have read from the Bible that there is a process for realization of sins. David wrote in the book of Psalms that he really straggles for his sins. but for me, I never felt this way before.
The process is that a person must realize that he is a sinner, and after he can realize that God has forgiven him from all his sins more than 2000 years before should follow. In my case I went directly to the realization that God had already forgiven me, and did not really struggle for my sins. Also I loved this part that God already forgave my sins, I said to myself that I was saved during that time.

It was Sunday afternoon. I don’t remember what date it was, but we were listening to the “Bible Is True” sermon number 6, and in the later part Rev. Kwon said that salvation is 12 inches from one’s head to heart, which means the faiths in your head should come to your heart. And I said to myself, “Was I really saved during the time when I first heard about the forgiveness of sins?” Maybe it was just additional knowledge to me.

So many times I wanted to ask the missionary about this matter that I felt in my mind I was really struggling to know if I was really saved. And I knew missionaries would know what to say about what I feel. And I really wanted to ask Mr. Bae also, but I didn’t have time.
Last Sunday, June 3, we listened to John’s Gospel sermon 50. Only this time I was able to focus on listening because there were many times I felt sleepy. And the passage which Chairman Yoo explained was in John 19:1-32. The passage tells about the two criminals who were nailed on the cross beside Jesus Christ.

At first the two criminals insulted Jesus Christ together with the crowd, “”Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we way see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him” (Mark 15:32), but later on the other criminal realized his sins then he rebuked the other criminal who insulted Jesus Christ. Finally the criminal just confessed what he had done and asked Jesus Christ to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”(See Luke 23:40-43)

This passage really helped me to realize that the criminal just said to Jesus what he had done and God brought him into His Paradise.
In the night, I prayed to God a prayer of confession, thanking Him for what I had realized that morning from the sermon of John’s Gospel.

I said, “Lord, I know I have committed many sins in the past and some I couldn’t remember. Thank you for forgiving all my sins when you died 2000 years ago just like the criminal confessed that what he had done was worthy to be punished but you forgave and saved him. Thank you so much. Amen.”
I thank the passage of this sermon because it helped me to realize my true salvation and my spiritual birth. I was born again last June 3, 2012.

Actually I felt ashamed that I was working with our Church for 4 years already and just recently I was save. But I said to myself why I should be ashamed if I was saved this time this is a matter of heaven and hell. So in the morning I first shared this to my father and my mother also I shared this to brother Lumagod.