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Sender's name: Sipho

Is it true that a person who commits crime and does everything wrong and just before he dies he repents and asks God for forgiveness he will go to Heaven and if a person or even a priest who serves God all his life and does good by the people if he commits sin before he dies and does not ask for forgiveness he will go to hell?




As to the first part of your question, one of the passages to look at is this one:


"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.  And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And so they went.  Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing.  And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he *said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?'  They *said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He *said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.'  When evening came, the owner of the vineyard *said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'  When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.  When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'  But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.  it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?' (Matt 20:1-15)"


Although in context, the passage is not speaking specifically of eleventh hour conversions, it does illustrate that God is generous, and if someone comes late into the game, he rewards just the same.  The reason is that the reward is not based on our merit, but ultimately on the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.  The power of salvation is in the Gospel (Rom 1:16), and the Gospel is the death of Jesus for our sins, his burial, and his resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4).  When we repent, are baptized, and live faithfully to him, we don't save ourselves, rather he saves us.  God is free and does what he wishes.  He is not obligated to us in any way for what we have done.  So if he chooses to give the same reward for someone who comes to him late, as in this parable, then it is his mercy demonstrated on the cross that gives the same gift of eternal life as he does to those who have served God all their lives.


As to the second part of your question, the Bible does not teach that if you sin, and forget to ask forgiveness for a sin, or you are unaware of a sin and forget to ask forgiveness, that this sin will keep you out of Heaven.  That is simply not how God works.  Perhaps a look at this passage will help.


"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 1:6 - 2:1);"


The important thing is not to be sinless, because this is not possible.  The important thing is to walk in the light.  When we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.  Walking in the light means walking with God.  When you walk with someone, sometimes you stumble and fall, but you get back up and continue walking.  That is what it is like when we sin.  This is quite different than walking away in another direction.  That is leaving God.


Notice the last couple of sentences in this verse.  God's ideal is that we not sin.  But if a Christian sins, Jesus is a Christian's advocate.  He advocates for Christians.  You see, the basis of our forgiveness is not ultimately the confession, but the blood of Jesus.  The confession demonstrates that not only do we understand that we have sinned, but that we are repenting (turning away) of the sin and rededicating ourselves to God.  It is one thing to be faithful and walk with God, but it is another thing to willfully, rebelliously, and habitually sin against God.  That is walking in darkness rather than walking in the light.


The important thing is to read the Bible, understand what God's will is, and follow it.  I would recommend looking at the sermons and lessons on this site concerning becoming a Christian, and Baptism.  Hearing the Gospel, faith in the Gospel, repentance, and baptism is where it begins.


John Telgren

P.O. Box 452

Leavenworth, KS 66048


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