The good thief on the cross rebuked his partner in Luke 40:43 by saying “don’t you fear God even when you’re dying? We deserve our sentence of death, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” In any situation in which we cannot save ourselves, we need someone who hasn’t found themselves in the same predicament. If we fall into a pit with others, there is no way we will be able to help each other out. But if there’s someone who has not fallen into the pit they are in the position to save us. Another way to say it is that we’re all in the same boat adrift on the ocean of sin and we’ll never be able to pull ourselves out. We need a savior!

All of us have fallen into a deep pit of sin. No matter how hard we may want to, or no matter how hard we may try, we cannot save each other. The best thing we can do is make the pit a little more bearable. But what usually happens is that we blame each other for being in the pit and accuse each other and judge each other. In Chapter 4, verse 12, James tells his reader that living like that in the “sin pit” is no way to live with each other, primarily because “He is the only one who is able to save…” He then asks the other sin-pit dwellers, “who are you to judge your neighbor?” The thief on the cross is right about himself and his friend’s situation, but he is also right about ours. We are in the sin-pit and deserve our judgment. We all need a savior and there is only one person who “hasn’t done anything wrong.” Peter agrees with James. He’s quoted as saying in Acts 4:12 (Notice the same reference as James 4:12), “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” There is no one in the world of whom it can honestly be said “he has done nothing wrong.” We’ve all fallen in, and we can’t get out. But He hasn’t fallen, and He can help us out. The three children thrown into the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel said to the executioner “…the God who we serve is able to save us…”

But in order to save us from the Pit, not only was it essential for Christ not to have fallen into that pit of sin himself, but he also needed the wherewithal to get us out of our pit. When the good thief acknowledged his guilt and came to grips with the justice of his destiny, he then acknowledged Jesus’ innocence and perfection. He then said to Jesus “Lord, remember me…” It is the fact that He is Lord that qualifies Him to act as Savior. That is why Scripture says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Jesus could not be Savior if He were not Lord.

“He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him…” Hebrews 7:25