Dwell On It: Is there a limit to Grace?

Question: If someone accepts Jesus before passing away, and lives a truly evil life before that moment, will they be in Heaven? What is the best way to address this with someone who is skeptical in the sense of what does what we do in this life ultimately matter?

Answer–Part A
The short answer to the first question is yes. Romans 10:9 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And John 3:16 also says salvation and eternal life is available to anyone who follows Jesus.

In the eyes of God, all sin has the same cost even if it doesn’t have the same level of discipline. Sin, regardless of how bad or severe, cost the life of Jesus Christ.

One of the facts about being on your deathbed is you begin to process your life and what is next. It is normal for people to reflect and wonder. It might be that in their final days they realize they truly are a sinner in need of a Savior and they give their life to Jesus. Or they might be reaching for a “get out of Hell'' free card and not really mean it. Honestly, only He knows and we trust Him in that.

An objection to this could be “that isn’t fair”. And that is correct. It isn’t fair that someone can live an evil life and in their last moments receive the keys to the Kingdom. But the Gospel isn’t about fairness, but goodness. It wasn’t fair that Jesus had to die a sinner’s death for us. If we think the Gospel is fair, we have missed it. None of us deserve it–unfair. None of us can earn it–unfair. Any of us can accept it–unfair. And that is what makes it good news! Despite it being unfair, God is good in his faithfulness to send Christ and gives us a way back to Him.

Answer–Part B 
Ultimately the best way to address this with someone really depends on that person. If they have the mindset of “I’ll live how I want and right before I die, I’ll follow Jesus”, you can ask, “what are you going to do if it happens suddenly?” For example, what if they are hit by a car? Or hit by a bullet? Or just in any way that death happens quickly without being able to plan or really think.

Another way to address this person is asking the question, “why are we here? What is the end goal of our life and can we really know it?” From a Christian perspective, the point of life and ultimate goal is to know and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So, the end goal is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever; to say it another way, in the presence of God is where we find true and ultimate joy.

So, does what we do in this life ultimately matter? Yes, because saying “yes” to Jesus in this life brings us into a relationship with Him and gives us the ability to have and experience joy in all situations. Saying “yes” to Jesus in this life also gives us the promise of eternal life with Him; saying “no” to Jesus in this life means we’ll spend eternity separated from God the Father.
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