How Late?

10 PM March 10, 2003
Pew-Fellows is a site that promotes discussion amongst Christians. The site has a variety of thought provoking articles, a blog shared by the six "members" and a Q & A style bulletin board which is truly interesting.

Callie recently posted this question about how late is too late to repent, and raises the prospect of repenting 'During that "journey to heaven" that we often talk about, ya know tunnel of light...'. The question seems to be partly inspired by concern from a friend - in Callie's own words:

I've known a friend who goes to church but doesn't believe, and he said "If it isn't true (being God) then it doesn't matter, and if it is then I guess I'll just have to deal with it."

There are a few good answers up on Pew-Fellows too. After them, Lenora points out that no-one has had a go at answering whether it is possible to be "forgiven after you die?"

Here are two answers to Lenora's follow-up. The first is that death is the end of the period where we can make a choice. This is largely implicit throughout the Bible, though Hebrews 9:27 says: "...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." (NIV). Jesus also tells the story of the rich man who dies and goes to hell in Luke 16:19-31. The rich man begs Abraham for mercy, but Abraham offers none. After death is too late.

Here are a two more passages that I found helpful:

The other answer is one I'd give to someone like Callie's friend who is not commiting themselves. It requires a bit of understanding about just how important repentance is to God.

God wants us to turn back to him, to say sorry and repent.

  • In Isaiah God promises wrath to those who don't repent and rest to those who do.
  • One of Jesus' central themes was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
  • Paul (and other letter writers) point out that refusing to repent is a slap in the face to the creator of the Universe, and he will count it against us.
  • If you don't feel bible-bashed already, there are at least another 20 passages in the Bible putting forth that we (me included!) need to repent. Really.

God is serious about repentance.

So this second answer is that if you want to avoid God's wrath, at all, you shouldn't play games on this issue. God is very clear. You repent or you go to hell. Do you really want to gamble on maybe having the time during a trip through the "tunnel-of-light"? And if you haven't repented already, where do you think the tunnel is taking you?

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(Posted to Christian Life)
© 2003-2006 Alan Green