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Are deathbed conversions acceptable to God?

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43

            Two criminals were on the crosses at both sides of Jesus.  Scriptures said they both cursed Jesus while nailed beside him.  Eventually, one came around and defended Jesus, chastising the other for his words to Jesus.  He asked Jesus to remember him in heaven and Jesus confirmed that desire by saying he would be with Jesus in paradise.

            What did the criminal do on his “deathbed”?  All we know is this:

·         He had a change of heart

·         He defended Jesus

·         He turned to Jesus

·         He received forgiveness

The thief didn’t have a ton of information about Jesus, just what he saw in a few brief moments.  He repented, turning away from his former self and asking Jesus to accept him.  Jesus agreed.  No coming forward during a service.  No baptism.  No first communion.  His criminal record made no difference.  His change of heart made all the difference.