God is near. Paul writes:
“DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 [e]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Paul is saying here that eternal salvation doesn't require 1,000 reps of ritual exercises or some kind of gnostic Inside Track on the truth. The Word of truth and your salvation is here, it is waiting to be spoken from your believing lips to God's ear. "Oh Jesus, I believe you are risen from the dead! I believe you are my savior! I choose you as my Lord!" Believe it say it live it. Believe Him confess Him trust Him.
As the song goes: The Kingdom of God is not far off, some castle with tribute you bring/ but the Kingdom of God is among you, for behold now, your Friend is the King.
I can almost imagine how that thief felt. Condemned, alone, he looks over and - he discovers a Friend and Savior hanging there right next to him. God showed His loved for me, that even though I was a sinner, Christ died for me.
The Spirit of grace and praise is wonderfully close. Driving down I-89 towards a two day trip to Boston (Freedom Trail, U.S.S. Constitution, maybe a Red Sox game), I heard something on the radio about being grateful. And I just blurted out "God thank you for my car, thank you for my radio, thank you for my Capitol Plaza parking sticker, thank you for the beautiful state I live in, thank you for my family, thank you for my great mother, thank you for my church, thank you for my singing and writing gifts, thank you for my friends....just thank you." Isn't this great, Dad? Isn't this great?