Jesus didn’t save him.
One criminal on his cross was hurling abuses at Jesus, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”. Jesus didn’t save him. This criminal didn’t want salvation, but self-preservation. He wanted his life to continue as normal and the “inconvenience” of his cross was in the way.
The other criminal recognized the righteousness of Christ, and his unrighteousness. He cried out to Jesus and Jesus promised him paradise that day.
One criminal fought the cross and died. The other criminal surrendered to his cross AND the cross of Christ and lived. He was truly crucified with Christ at that moment.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Matt. 16:25).