If a person who never served the Lord during his or her lifetime asks forgiveness of sins on their d
September 26, 2011Print this article
If a person who never served the Lord during his or her lifetime asks forgiveness of sins on their deathbed, will they go to heaven? — Eva H. Wheeler
The obvious example from Scripture that sheds light on your question is the thief on the cross. When he asked for forgiveness, our Lord assured the thief that he would be in Paradise that very day.
We can take from that example that a sincere “deathbed confession” is honored by our Lord. People have questioned the sincerity of some deathbed conversions but several passages of Scripture teach us it is only the Lord who looks on the heart and can judge our sincerity.
Undoubtedly, it is more desirable for one to come to Christ early in life and lead a life of obedience to God. Yet, as in the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20.1-16) makes clear, all those who served their master, whether from morning until evening or just for the last hour of the day, receive the same wage. Salvation is a gift God grants to whomever he wills; it is not earned.
(Answered by Rev. Thomas May, Nida Institute)
Puzzled by a Scripture passage? Submit your Bible-related questions to dr. Liana Lupas at LLupas@AmericanBible.org or via U.S. mail. ABSRecord.com/bibleqa
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