The Appeal of Grace, The Appeal of Faith (Luke 23:32-43 Bible Study) [Slideshow+]

Did the Criminal on the Cross Have Faith That Works?

After preaching and teaching from James 2:14-26, which tells us that “The Only Kind of Faith That Works, Is Faith That Works” someone asked a good question: what about the “thief” on the cross?

If “faith” without works is dead (Jas 2:17, 26), did the “thief” on the cross have true faith if he had little time for works? What if someone doesn’t have time for their faith to “work” (i.e., be put into practice)? How long does it take for salvation to “kick in”?

The Appeal of Grace, The Appeal of Faith

These were the main questions I meant to address with this study. Some of the main conclusions are as follows:

  • Son of Man on a Mission: Jesus endures an painful, public, humiliating death on the cross while being mocked and insulted – despite his innocence [for “Son of Man” see Dn 7:13-14 cf. Mk 14:62]
  • Name That Tune: Jesus fulfills Scriptures written in the Psalms (e.g., Psalm 22, Ps 31:5, Ps 69:21)
  • Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 (starting at Is 52:13) who was pierced for our transgressions (Is 53:5) while numbered with the transgressors (Is 53:12), and graciously making intercession for the transgressors (cf. Is 53:12)
  • Perhaps one criminal finds Christ’s gracious intercession (Lk 23:34) so appealing, he has a change of heart
  • The criminal then makes an appeal of faith – not only believing that Jesus can save him, but believing in Jesus to save him
  • He puts his faith into action by confessing his sin and asking the King for mercy
  • May we also graciously intercede for others
  • May our gracious actions be so appealing, that others make an appeal of faith (cf. Mt 5:16)

See slides, video, and sources from last night’s Bible Study below. And, please let me know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns



There are two videos embedded on one of the later slides, but I only had time for one of them. I used this clip of an illustration of how gracious acts can be amazingly appealing to others.


  • Bock, Darrell L. Luke. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.
  • Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 9:51–24:53. Vol. 2. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996.
  • Bock, Darrell L. Luke. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
  • Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.
  • Douglas, J. D., and F. F. Bruce. “Scourging, Scourge.” Edited by D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, and D. J. Wiseman. New Bible Dictionary. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
  • Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Luke. Edited by D. A. Carson. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015.
  • Evans, Craig A. Luke. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990.
  • Garland, David E. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: . Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
  • Goldingay, John. Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms 1–41. Edited by Tremper Longman III. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.
  • Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament.Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
  • Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1–72: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 15. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973.
  • Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by David G. Firth. Vol. 15–16. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014.
  • Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978.
  • Marshall, I. Howard. “Luke.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 978–1020. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
  • Metzger, Bruce Manning, United Bible Societies. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.). London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994.
  • Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • Schreiner, Thomas R. “Luke.” In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, 3:799–839. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
  • Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Zondervan. Kindle Edition, 1998.
  • Wilcock, Michael. The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979.




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Imperfect Servant ✝📖⛪ | Husband | Princeton U. Alum | M. Div. | Assistant (to the) Pastor | Sound Doctrine & Apologetics @catchforchrist