Q: My friend says he isn't worried about going to heaven because just before he dies, he plans to ask God to forgive him for the way he's been living, and God will do it -- or so he claims.
Is he right?
A: I'm always saddened whenever I hear of someone like this, because they're putting themselves in extreme spiritual danger, and they don't even realize it. After all, your friend has no way of knowing when or how he'll die; he may not have any opportunity to turn to God.
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I'm reminded of Jesus' parable about a rich man who decided one day to spend the rest of his life taking it easy, selfishly enjoying his riches. He had spent years gaining his wealth, but had never given any thought to his soul or his relationship to God. In other words, he was rich in things but poor in soul, and suddenly it was too late. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you'" (Luke 12:20).
Your friend is also in spiritual danger because he misunderstands God's grace. Yes, God will forgive anyone who sincerely turns to Christ, repenting of their sins and trusting Christ alone for their salvation. But from what you say, your friend has no intention of turning from his sins (which is what it means to repent). He wants to go on living without God as long as he can.
Don't let your friend influence you or keep you from giving your life to Jesus. Instead, invite Christ into your life today. Then pray for your friend, and ask God to use you to point him to the only One who assures us of life beyond the grave: Jesus Christ.
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or go to billygraham.org.