2007-11-13 - Acceptable Timing
Psalm 95:7, "Today, if you would hear His voice."
It is common today for someone to say that they hope that things will turn out "OK" between them and God, when all is said and done. I hope for such people also, but I wonder how they can have any peace in not knowing that there will be peace between them and God, when all is said and done. It seems that seeking this out would be a huge priority for anyone. Anyone who entertains serious hopes of having peace with God when they close their eyes for the last time, and wake to open them before God face-to-face, would - if they were serious - be seeking to know it as true now. But many keep their hopes, while doing little to secure their hope as a confidence.
It is not uncommon to meet people who think that, at the last moment before they die, after they have done all they "really" wanted in this life, they will say a few words to Jesus - and all will be well. They fail to consider that they may be one of the many who never gets that last moment of thought, to consider the things of Christ. A candle might be forgotten one evening, resulting in a fire. Or any number of things might occur, not the least to mention meeting a Mack Truck, and the last moment may not be a conscience moment, or one in which those few words may be said or prayed. Will you risk your eternal soul upon such an uncertainty as a dying confession? It is an understatement to say that such a risk is unwise.
There is only one recorded instance of a so-called deathbed conversion to Jesus. The Bible gives little hope of such things, but it does give us the one instance of the thief on the cross (I don't believe there is another), so let us not say that they never happen. But we can say with certainty that the Bible witness is that they are unusual. Let me remind us all that what we speak of here is the concern of an eternal soul, your eternal soul. Will you risk it on the rare and unusual?
Consider also that it is likely that you will be thinking of other things on your deathbed than Jesus. If Jesus has not been commonly present in your thoughts, do you think it likely that He will be there when you are struggling to breathe, racked with pain, discomfort, and/or highly medicated? It is unlikely. Deathbed confessions are not as common as we would all like to believe. I hope they are many, but I have sincere doubts. I don't see how the man or woman, making peace with the Lord in the last moment, can "bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance," Matthew 3:8. If there is a reason for you to turn to Christ and repent at the last moment, then I submit to you that there is a reason to do so now. If you see your need for the mercy of Christ at the last, then clearly you see that need now. "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation," 2 Corinthians 6:2.
Soli Deo Gloria,