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And sit with Him on His throne?

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Rev 3:21 NIV

Or should I ask for forgiveness every day, just in case?

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What are you asking here? Are you asking, in essence, if the thief on the cross could go to Heaven? Or are you asking of a believer must continually ask for forgiveness to go to Heaven? –  Flimzy Oct 31 '11 at 6:50
Who do you want to hear from here? Even if I think there is only one right answer, there is a huge spectrum of doctrines on this issue. You cannot ask questions that boil down to a judgement about spiritual matters on an SE site, you will need to provide more of a framework for what kind of answer you want. See also: What makes a good focused question? –  Caleb Oct 31 '11 at 13:10
It would be helpful to limit this to a particular doctrinal position... Protestand, Catholic, LDS... They vary quite a bit on this. –  Narnian Oct 31 '11 at 21:19
I think the questioner is quoting the scripture and wants an answer from the scripture itself. –  RiverC Nov 4 '11 at 0:25
I just thought it worth mentioning here that a number of Graham Greene's early novels are essentially extended meditations on this question. I'm thinking in particular of The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and Brighton Rock. –  Ben Dunlap Dec 29 '11 at 23:10
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7 Answers

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This is an interesting and very common question. There are a few inherent assumptions in this question that are worth identifying.

This is answer is from the perspective of a Biblical literlist (non-Catholic)

Assumption 1: Asking forgiveness for my sins every day is necessary for my salvation.

The Scriptures indicate that salvation is by faith, and "by faith alone in Christ alone" if you agree with Luther. Faith indicates a reliance on the substitutionary atonement of Jesus to pay the penalty for one's own sins, through which God declares an unrighteous man to be righteous. Faith does not necessitate continuing prayers of repentance.

However, the maintain close fellowship with God, these prayers ought to be made--not to maintain salvation, but, again, to maintain fellowship.

Assumption 2: A true Christian would want to sin continuously

At least a common assumption is that sin is satisfying and fulfilling while abstaing from sin is unsatisfying and unfulfilling. While it is certainly true that there is pleasure in sin for a season, but the pleasure is fleeting:

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:24-25 ESV

If we were merely physical beings, then merely physical pleasures could satisfy our deepest longings. However, we are not merely physical beings, but also spiritual beings. Physical pleasures cannot satisfy our deepest longings, which are spiritual. Likewise, spiritual things cannot satisfy our physical hunger and thirst. We must have physical fulfillments for physical needs and spiritual fulfillments for spiritual things.

While the pleasures of sin are fleeting, the pleasures from God are eternal.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV

The fullness of joy and peace and fulfillment is found in a close relationship with God--not in the pleasures of sin.

The Victorious One

So, who is the victorious one who will have the right to sit on the throne with God? To answer this question, it is instructive to interpret Scripture with Scripture:

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

So, again, it is faith that saves.


So, yes, it is certainly possible for someone to live a life full of sin and then turn to Christ in the last moments of life and receive salvation. It is also possible for a Christian to live a sinful life and wait until the last moment to ask for forgiveness, although this would not be for salvation, but fellowship, assuming the person had a genuine faith.

However, no one knows the day of their death, and no one is assured of having days, hours, or even minutes for death to tarry. Oftentimes, death is instantaneous, so it is quite risky to wait until the end of a life.

Biblically speaking, it would also be very foolish as well. Why would anyone want to persistently engage in destructive behavior that ultimately satisfies only momentarily, but leaves us emptier than before? As someone once said...

Sin takes us farther than we wanted to go.
It keeps us longer than we wanted to stay,
And costs us more than we wanted to pay.

Sin takes a huge toll on our lives. The way to live the fullest, most satisfying life full of joy and peace is to live a life of holiness and communion with God. The world can give pleasure, but it cannot satisfy the deepest longings of our souls and spirits. Only God can provide that.

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I think your answer is the most clear and satisfying answer. Especially, in my own words, that sin is damaging our spiritual life. –  Zealumble Nov 1 '11 at 6:40
I like this answer, too. Particularly for clarifying the two main assumptions.. Very clear and well-phrased! –  David Stratton Nov 1 '11 at 22:38
You might also mention Romans 7 - the struggle between the right that we know we ought to do vs. the sin we want to do. (and end up doing...) –  GalacticCowboy Nov 4 '11 at 21:07
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This is one of the more difficult questions I know of when it comes to Christianity.

Clearly, there is precedent in scripture for someone repenting at the time of their death and being promised by no less that Jesus Himself that he would be with Him in paradise.

From Luke 23:38-43 KJV:

38And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

In this passage, the second malefactor (I've usually heard it translated "thief") rebukes the first, showing that he has a truly repentant heart. He is proclaiming the truth of Jesus and clearly sees himself as guilty, and Christ as innocent. I may be reading more into this passage, but this second malefactor shows all the signs of true repentance, and he is promised by Jesus that he will be in paradise. This thief is clearly at the end of his life, and has no reason to believe that he will come out of his current situation alive, so it is exactly the type of scenario you ask about.

However, does this mean that you can reject Christ's offer of free salvation all your life and then repent and "ask to be saved" at the last moment? I don't know. I don't think so in most cases, because I seriously doubt it would be sincere.

If it's something you're planning to do all along, then you're clearly trying to use the grace of God as a "get out of jail free" card. That seems a pretty dangerous way to think, and a callous way to treat such a precious gift. I don't think that this could in any way be construed as "saving faith".

I do believe that it is possible for someone to sin all their lives and truly repent and be saved at the end. After all, it is God who chooses whom to draw to Himself, and who would I be to limit God, especially where He has given precedent in Scripture? But that doesn't mean that I think it's likely for someone to live in sin knowingly, and plan to turn at the end and have it be genuine. I also know that some deaths are completely unexpected and instantaneous, so there's no guarantee that you'd have time at the end.

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When dealing with the thief on the cross, it's important to remember that paradise and heaven are not the same thing. (See Jesus's statement to Mary immediately after his resurrection, that he had not been to heaven yet, for example.) –  Mason Wheeler Oct 30 '11 at 21:18
@Mason Wheeler - No argument from me on this. The difference between Paradise and Heaven is one I haven't really studies out. It was my understanding that Paradise is where the saved go after death, but before the Resurrection to await the judgments. (I admit I may be wrong.) In that context, I assumed that if the thief is promised paradise, then the implication is that he was also granted forgiveness by Christ. Is that a bad assumption? Do you have a clarification on it? Like I said, I haven't really studied this in depth. –  David Stratton Nov 1 '11 at 2:35
It's only mentioned 3 times in the Bible. This passage in Luke, in 2 Corinthians 12 (which also differentiates it from Heaven,) and in Revelation 2:7. None of these references explains exactly what Paradise is, what it's there for, or how it's different from Heaven, so any doctrine offering specifics on the subject will be based on traditions or extrabiblical sources. The idea that it's "where the saved go after death to await the Resurrection" seems to be based entirely on the story of the thief on the cross, which is kind of circular reasoning. The simple version is, the Bible doesn't say. –  Mason Wheeler Nov 1 '11 at 4:02
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The simple solution is, yes. The problem though, is will you remember to repent? What you propose is in fact a kind of gambling, but instead of playing progressively unlikely games of poker or roulette with a month's salary, you're betting your soul, your very life and existence.

This is an excellent question, because many people take the attitude that they will 'repent later' without thinking about how they will feel about repenting later, especially since the more you get enmeshed in anything (especially addictions) the harder it is to get out of them.

As for St. Dismas, it is unlikely he first considered repenting when he was on the cross. Perhaps being condemned to death was for him a benefit, for he now forknew the date of his death and could prepare for it. But we do not know the date of our death, and thus the longer we live without repenting, the greater a gamble it is.

And for what? As other answers point out, fleeting pleasures from anyone's interpretation.

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It's possible, but if this is your plan, you are almost certain to fail. Faith that leads to salvation is faith that will motivate a lifestyle which honors God. On the other hand, a life spent in rebellion to God would demonstrate a lack of such faith.

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This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this post by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Paul addresses exactly this issue in Romans 6:1-7:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

That doesn't mean we have yet been perfected in this life, but that a pattern of "living in sin" or "continually sinning" is no longer that which defines our lives:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Can someone be saved in the last seconds of life? Of course - who would we be to limit God? Should anyone plan for God's last-minute mercy? Of course NOT - who are we to know when that last minute will be?

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?


But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

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It isn't enough to ask for forgiveness, you must repent, and that is more than just feeling bad, if you are a believer, or claim to be.

I like this LDS page on this: http://lds.about.com/od/basicsgospelprinciples/a/bb_repentance2.htm

but for Biblical references you can look at http://www.gospelway.com/salvation/repentance.php.

In a nutshell, you must have a change of heart as part of the repentance, so you will try to not continue to do that sin. You may need to change friends or a job, for example, or just make smaller changes, but some change of mind is needed.

So, if you knowingly sin, with he expectation that you will just ask for forgiveness at the end, God will know your motive and judge accordingly.

So, your best bet is to seek to live a prayerful life and consider often if you need to repent, and then having a checklist to go down, such as found in the LDS link, may be useful to decide if you are truly ready to repent and ask for forgiveness.

Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still wrong.

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You say that i must try not to sin. But sin is sometimes so easy. Is it possible to not sin? –  Zealumble Oct 30 '11 at 21:31
@Zealumble: It's always possible to avoid each individual sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13) That doesn't mean that we always manage to do it. But it's also possible to repent of the sins we do commit and become clean again. –  Mason Wheeler Oct 31 '11 at 2:16
@Zealumble - If you know that something you do is wrong, you will come to a place where you realize not only is it wrong, but but you need to change in order to stop that behavior. At that point you are ready to truly repent as you have had a change of mind. –  James Black Nov 1 '11 at 0:28
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(All quoted scripture is from an Amplified bible) We attain salvation the moment we put our trust in Jesus:

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
John 3:16

Once you do that, your sins are forgiven; He paid your price, and nothing can pluck you from His hand, not even yourself:

28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. [To all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed.] And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all [else]; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father's hand.
John 10:28-29

Here is some commentary:

All that is required for salvation is to place your trust in Christ and Him alone - plus nothing, minus nothing... This is the one gift that once received can not be lost. If we could lose our salvation then that would mean that Christ's work on Calvary was somehow incomplete. Christ died for every sin that had been committed and that would be committed. After we get saved, we are still going to sin; that is human nature. Our salvation does not rely on us asking for forgiveness over and over again. We will retain our salvation whether we ask for forgiveness or not. Not confessing our sins will distance us from God and our relationship with Him, but it will never cause us to lose our salvation... The moment we accept Christ as our Saviour we become a child of God and are placed in His protection. No one in Heaven above, here on earth, or in Hell beneath can ever change that. Jesus said that no one could pluck us out of God's hands - and that includes ourselves.

Now if you haven't done this yet, then I don't think, in pursuing the same state of mind, you will ever sincerely do this before your time comes. If you don't believe in Jesus, what is stopping you?

15 Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].
17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.
1 John 2:15-17

Now if you are saved, then you will have real faith in Christ and repentance/remorse for your sins and you will have a heart that, at least, wants to keep His commandments, in light of knowing the Truth. But if your living a life with no regards to His teachings and commandments, then you have no real repentance and you probably don't really believe in Him; perhaps got the "free-ticket" in the event He is real, or some other motive.. Lots of Christians do regard the Lord's commandments, but also have some of their own little sins that they love too much to let go of (where the line is drawn, I don't know. Only God knows what is in your heart). And if you are not living for the Lord and bearing your cross everyday, then you cannot be His disciple (Luke 9:23), nor carry out His purposes and will for your life, that which is truly satisfying:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Romans 12:1-2

Not to give you information overload.. but Paul also tells us that in Christ we are free from sin, but to not let that freedom be an excuse for selfishness, but in love we should serve one another.

4 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law,
5 To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God's sons].
Galatians 4:4-5

13 For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.
Galatians 5:13

I see people have also mentioned that you need to repent, also, in order to attain salvation. I don't know if this is technically true (that is explicitly stating you must repent to enter the kingdom of God), and if it is backed up by scripture I would love to see it (Luke 13:1-5). Repentance and belief in Christ go hand in hand. God set his commandments in place so that we can know the standards by which we must live, and never break (not once!), in order to be considered acceptable in His sight. However, no one can live by these standards, not one. We need to see that a simple lie, or theft, or saying God's name in vain, is evil by God's standards, and has made us fall short of his glory, and has condemned us. If you don't have repentance in your heart, then you will probably not *truly believe in Him. A true believer has been baptized by His Spirit and is called to righteousness, and His Spirit within you should give you a new desire to not want to sin for His sake, and repents when you do.

*I say truly because I don't think all who call on the Lord (and do not believe [trusts in, clings to, and relies on] Him, as Amplified translates it) will enter His kingdom. Perhaps people without repentance or sincerity of heart.

19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
20 Therefore, you will [a]fully know them by their fruits.
21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?
23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].
Matthew 7:19-23

23 And someone asked Him, Lord, will only a few be saved (rescued, delivered from the penalties of the last judgement, and made partakers of the salvation by Christ)? And He said to them,
24 Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.
25 When once the Master of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door [again and again], saying, Lord, open to us! He will answer you, I do not know where [what household -- certainly not Mine] you come from.
26 Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.
27 But He will say, I tell you, I do not know where [what household -- certainly not Mine] you come from; depart from Me, all you wrongdoers!
Luke 13:23-27


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