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.
Or should I ask for forgiveness every day, just in case?
|show 1 more comment|
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Paul addresses exactly this issue in Romans 6:1-7:
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:
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?
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.
(All quoted scripture is from an Amplified bible) We attain salvation the moment we put our trust in Jesus:
Once you do that, your sins are forgiven; He paid your price, and nothing can pluck you from His hand, not even yourself:
Here is some commentary:
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?
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:
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.
*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.