When the thief on the cross besides Jesus repents, Jesus responds to Him with the words, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” I love that for a couple reasons. First, because these words strike down every false teacher there is who will tell you that you have to do something in order to get to heaven. You have to be good enough or go through certain rituals or be baptized in order to get to heaven. The thief did not have any opportunity to go back and do anything good. He couldn't go make up for lost time. He couldn't go do good deeds. He couldn't go get baptized. He couldn't go through a ritual. This is a verse that screams to us the truth of the gospel that we are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
I also love the fact that He says to that thief, TODAY you'll be with Me in paradise. Today! There is no place of pause or limbo. There is no place of purification before you get to heaven. Folks, this affirms that the Bible teaches with great clarity that to be absent from the body is to be immediately present with the Lord Jesus Christ. That promise is made clear right on the cross to a thief who simply believed. .