Dead IN Sin(the sinner)~The first death is the natural condition of all mankind. The natural man who has not been born of the Spirit of God is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
One thief on the cross died IN sin. “Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying,‘If You are the Christ,save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?’” (Luke 23:39-40).
Died FOR Sin(the Savior)~The second death is the Gospel of God available to all mankind. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
The Saviordied on the middle Cross FOR sin.“But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord,remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:40-43).
Dead TO Sin(the saint)~The third death is the result of faith and obedience in the Gospel of God. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2).
One thief on the crossdied TO sin. “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord,remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:42-43).
Summary~There were two thieves crucified alongside Jesus Christ. Both had a common background, common frustration with life, and both needed abundant life. They had a common reaction but with conflicting results. Both tried prayer – one was sincere, the other was not. One was granted eternal life, the other was not! Our good friend Anonymous has put it this way, “One thief was saved that none should despair, but only one that none should presume!”
contemplate:The first man, Adam, was a thief (forbidden fruit) and the first convert was a thief.