Why are death-bed confessions allowed? After a life of corruptness and inappropriate behavior, why is it allowed that a Priest/Pastor/Preacher save someone just before death? A lifetime of wrongs rectified by an instance of "finding themselves?” Why would everyone not choose this path, and live how they want knowing at the end of their days, they can “get right with the Lord” and all would be good? - Signed, Working Through Some Issues with the Church
If you’ve not heard it before, let me introduce you to a modicum of truth that carries a hefty theological impact - “Hell is hot, and eternity is a long time.”
Speaking from a pastoral point of view, I want as many to come to a faith in Christ as possible. And it’s partly because of that statement above. Hell wasn’t created for humans. It was created for satan and his demons. But since humans decided to turn against God as well, and reject God’s love to go their own ways, a holy and just and righteous God will need to deal with your sin just as He will deal with satan and the demons’ sin. But the sentence doesn’t HAVE to be that - God isn’t sending people to Hell. We choose to go there of our own accord by rejecting the OTHER path He laid out for us - the path that leads straight through His Son, Jesus Christ (Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life… NO ONE comes to the Father, except through Me.” - emphasis mine).
Speaking from a strictly humanistic point of view, one has to wonder if that “death bed confession” is a true repentance, or merely saying words in hopes to have all the bases covered. The Bible is clear that TODAY is the day of salvation, meaning two things. Firstly, today is ALWAYS the best day to accept Christ as your Savior and make Him your Lord. Secondly, there are people around this globe making that exact decision today, and yesterday, and tomorrow - every day. The question is, will you be one of those people?
Because just as TODAY is the day of salvation (as we read in 2 Corinthians 6:2, link above), it’s also true that it is appointed for man to die, and after that comes judgment. The bottom line is that no one knows when they’re going to breathe their last and walk through the doors.
So, from a pastoral view, I care less about what they’ve done in the past, and more about a true change of heart and mind towards Christ, who has paid for all OUR sins by dying OUR death on OUR cross… He paid it all - and He’s given us an amazing chance to accept His gift of salvation TODAY… because for some of us reading this, tomorrow may never come. And if I don’t make the best choice for Christ today, I need to remember that Hell is hot, and eternity is a long time without Christ.
Now, let me deal with one other statement - you’d asked, “why is it allowed that a Priest/Pastor/Preacher save someone just before death after a life of corruptness and inappropriate behavior?” I would again answer twofold. First, why not? it’s always a good day to turn from that life into a new life with Christ!! (I think I made that point above) Secondly, it’s not the Priest/Pastor/Preacher saving anyone - we are just a messenger that God puts in the lives of those whom He is already calling to Himself. God saves us… we don’t save us.
Would I rather that corrupt and inappropriate life have changed much earlier? ABSOLUTELY. There’s a path of “collateral damage” because of those sins that may have generational impacts on many… but at the end of the day, if there was a truly repentant heart calling out to Jesus, He’ll answer EVERY TIME.
- Pastor Jason