Now let us see how the Lord Jesus answered the robber. Please read Luke 23:43. "And He said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise." Paradise is where those who believe in the Lord Jesus dwell after they have died. It is a very joyful place. In other words, Paradise is heaven (Rev. 2:7). Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ promised, "You are saved today; you already have eternal life; heaven is assured for you." Please remember that salvation is immediate; you do not have to wait until the future. The Bible said, "He who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). Whenever you believe, you have eternal life. You do not have to wait until the future to find out. If you believe today, you will be saved today; you do not have to wait until you die and stand before God to find out. The word in John 5:24 says it most clearly. "Truly, truly, I say to you, He who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life." Here it tells us that he who hears the gospel of the Lord and believes on the heavenly Father (1) has eternal life, (2) shall not come into judgment, and (3) has passed out of death into life. The Lord Jesus said that he who believes has eternal life. We have believed. Do we have eternal life? The Lord Jesus said that he who believes shall not come into judgment. We have believed. Will we be judged? The Lord Jesus said that he who believes has passed out of death into life. We have already believed. Have we passed out of death into life? The Lord will never lie. Whatever He says is true. His promise will never change; even now, it has not lost its effectiveness. We must not doubt God’s Word and His promise. If we doubt, that sin will be great! Since the Lord Jesus promised, certainly it must be true. We who have believed in Him have eternal life now; we are not in condemnation now; we have passed out of death into life now. The question for us is whether or not we have believed in Him. If not, how perilous it is for us! If so, what have we to fear? God has already given us eternal life; God has already justified us. Who can condemn us? "He who believes into Him is not condemned" (John 3:18).
Therefore, we should know that having salvation and eternal life is not something that one finds out about in the future, nor is it something that one receives in the future. We can know now, and we can receive today. Are you one who has believed in the Lord Jesus? I often ask Christians, "Are you saved?" Let me also ask you this same question, "Are you saved?" There are many people who answer, "Mr. Nee, I dare not say so. But I do hope to be saved." And some people say, "I do not know now. I must wait until I die, and after God judges me, I will know." But please listen to what the Lord Jesus said to this robber, "Today you shall be with Me in Paradise." Today! Today! Not tomorrow. Salvation is a matter for today, not for the future. The Lord Jesus seemed to be saying to the robber, "You do not have to wait until I come again to remember you; today you will be saved." The Lord Jesus is still saying to every sinner who believes in Him, "You do not have to wait until I come again to judge, before you can have eternal life; you have been saved now." Therefore, do not doubt. If He has said that you have eternal life, do you not have eternal life? Once there was a doctor who went to see a young woman who was sick in bed. Her sickness was very grave, and she was at the brink of death. The doctor came from out of town and was not allowed to render any physical help to the patient at the local hospital. The doctor asked the young woman, "Do you have the peace within?" She said, "No." The doctor asked her, "Have you believed on Jesus Christ as your Savior?" She answered, "Yes, I have." "Then why do you still not have peace?" he asked. She responded, "I am afraid of perishing." The doctor then read a verse in the Bible to her. The verse was John 6:47. "He who believes has eternal life." The doctor asked her, "This verse says he who believes has what?" She said, "This verse said, he who believes has eternal life." "Do you believe?" She said, "I do." "Then do you have eternal life?" he asked. She said, "I do not feel it. I’m afraid I do not have it." The doctor said to her again, "What does this verse say about he who believes?" She answered, "He has eternal life." "Do you believe?" She said, "Yes." The doctor then said, "Now, what does this verse say that you have?" The woman replied, "I say that I do not have eternal life, but this verse says that I have eternal life." Please listen! "I say that I do not have eternal life, but the Bible says that I have eternal life." The doctor then asked her, "Are you more reliable? Or is the Bible more reliable?" She said, "Of course, the Bible is more reliable." "Very well," said the doctor, "Do you have eternal life now?" The woman then answered joyfully, "God says that I have it. I already have eternal life." I am afraid many people are like this young woman. They believe in the Lord Jesus, but they doubt the Word of God and His promise. They think that salvation cannot be so fast, and that one cannot have eternal life immediately after believing. If you ask, "Do you believe in the Lord?", they will answer, "Yes, we believe." But if you ask them, "Do you have eternal life?", they will not dare to say yes. How many people, after hearing this gospel, have said, "I thought I did not have eternal life, but the Bible says I have eternal life!" Please do not worry about what you think or feel. God’s Word says that you are saved, and the Lord Jesus says that you have eternal life; what else is there to doubt? Now is the time for us to praise the Lord, not the time to doubt. Hallelujah! Thank and praise the Lord, for He has granted us grace so freely and has saved us.
Look at the robber. He believed on the word of the Lord Jesus. He did not doubt at all. He heard the Lord say to him, "Today you shall be with Me in Paradise," and he believed that he had already obtained the blessing of his soul. He did not say to the Lord, "Lord, am I to be saved just like that?" He did not come to beg the Lord again, saying, "Lord, please do not forget to save me today!" Neither did he ask the Lord, "What shall I do in order to be saved?" After he heard the Lord saying that he would be saved that same day, he simply believed. He just rested in the Lord’s word and did not raise any more questions. The word of the Lord is the guarantee of our salvation. If He says we are saved, then we are saved. If He says we are lost, then we are lost. When the Lord Jesus said, "He who believes into Him is not condemned" (John 3:18), then he who believes into Him will surely not be condemned. The Lord Jesus also said, "He who does not believe has been condemned already" (John 3:18). Surely those who do not believe in Him, their sins have been judged already. Therefore, let me ask you some questions right now: "Do you have eternal life? Are you saved?" If you have believed in Him, you can boldly answer, "Thank God for His grace. I have eternal life!"
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 06: The Christian (4), Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)