Question: Can a person wait until he is on his deathbed to accept Jesus and go to heaven? If so, is this fair to other Christians?
Answer: Our human logic tells us that it seems unfair to give the same wonderful, expensive gift to someone who has not been your friend for as long a time. However, people do not have the mind of God – or His love, His mercy, and His acceptance! It is dangerous, though, for anyone to put off making the decision to accept the gift of eternal life with God through His Son Jesus Christ that He offers right now. What if death comes so quickly and unexpectedly that there is no time left to reconsider? Once death occurs, there is no second chance to make that choice; the future destination is already set for either heaven or hell.
Jesus addressed this question of “fairness” regarding His new and former followers. The Bible records the story He told to illustrate such a situation in which new converts were resented by others who had been faithful to God for a longer time. In His parable, a landowner hired workers for a full day and told them he would pay them at the end of the day. Several hours later, the man hired more workers to help in the same vineyard. He hired more laborers throughout the day, some even in the final hour. When it came time for the workers to be paid, the farmer paid all of them the same amount of money. Of course, the men who worked the entire day complained that the others should not have received as much as they. But the landowner told them he decided to be generous to all who had worked. (Matthew 20) Jesus may have been teaching His Jewish followers that God would accept Gentiles (non-Jews) into heaven even though they had not been His chosen people from the beginning. It was unthinkable to the Jews that Jesus would accept those who had not followed the laws God gave to Moses, including circumcision, sacrifices, and the keeping of the feasts and holy days. Jesus was preparing His followers to welcome anyone who God accepted, even those who decided to believe and trust Jesus late in life. He also ended the story with a warning to the Jews that, just because they had believed God longer, it did not necessarily mean their love was as genuine or faithful as the thankfulness and sincerity of the later converts.
So, the first may be last and the first last. For many were called, but few are chosen. Matthew 20:6
For my eyes have seen God’s salvation which He has prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel. Luke 2:30-32
Jesus repeatedly explained that He came for ALL people, so that whoever would believe would be saved from his sins and go to heaven after physical death. (John 3:16) And whomever Jesus accepts, His followers should accept them and be thankful for His gift of salvation to them, as well. Do you welcome anyone to whom Jesus shows His generosity? We should imitate His love and celebrate the way He, His angels, and those already in heaven do!
Jesus said, “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep and lost one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that was lost, until he found it: when he has found it, he is happier about the one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. Likewise, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Matthew 18:12-14 & Luke 15:3-7
Have you, too, accepted Jesus as your Savior, the one who gave His life so that you can have eternal life with Him?
Do not wait until the end of your life. you may miss out on that last chance.
Once you die, your decision is finalized, and your future is set.
Asking Jesus to be your Savior and Master is not hard to do. Tell God that you are sorry for your sins, and ask Him to help you to begin anew. He promises to wipe away all records of your sins and allows you a clean slate. Accept His gift of forgiveness and acknowledge that Jesus paid for your sins by His death on a cross. He will immediately forgive you and send His Spirit to guide you the rest of your earthly days!
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were like dead people in our sins, He gave us life when He raised Jesus from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace, His undeserved favor, that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2:4-5