For example, if somebody says, "Since God forgives sins, why not live a sinful life? Then when I'm dying in my bed, I'll just ask him to forgive me for my sins."

How should I respond to that person? Does God really save such people?

Some people might think this question is too general, but I am just asking what the Bible says, which would make it universal.

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    Repentance isn't simply a matter of asking for forgiveness.The word means actual changes in one's way of thinking and behaviour. Anyone with the attitude described isn't repentant; they're just playing the game (and about to lose). Nov 29, 2020 at 1:16
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    How do you know that when you are dying in bed you will still believe, and ask Him for forgiveness? (Aside from the question of: what if you get hit by a car and die immediately).
    – Tim
    Nov 29, 2020 at 22:11
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    Ezekiel 18 is a great chapter on deathbed repentance. The problem, of course, is living an insincere life and then expecting God to believe your sincerity at the last moment. As I've mentioned to a few people over the years who think they found this same loophole, "good luck with that."
    – JBH
    Nov 29, 2020 at 22:46
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    Sorry, but we don't do "just asking what the Bible says" questions, because as much as we'd like that to be universal, it's anything but. Please have a read of What types of questions can I ask on this site?
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 30, 2020 at 12:37

4 Answers 4


If a person should be aware that God forgives sins and should yet purpose to live a sinful life, then (whatever they theorise about an unknowable future) they are already in danger of perdition, of destruction and of eternal hell-fire, for the following reasons :

1. Because it is hard-hearted

To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, [Hebrews 3:15 KJV]

Scripture warns us not to harden our hearts against God's goodness. "... Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" [Romans 2:4 KJV.]

The goodness of God in granting us a fresh day to live, another day of hope, another beat of the heart with which to function, another sun-rise giving another opportunity to pursue eternal life ... should all urge us to repentance and faith.

Not to harden our hearts, yet more and more.

2. Because it is un-believing

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. [Hebrews 10:39 KJV]

Not to proceed in one's life with faith is to not proceed at all in the direction of heaven. It is to 'draw back' as the writer to the Hebrews words it.

And such unbelief will cause even more hardening of the heart.

3. Because it is sinful.

If a person should deliberately put off repentance in favour of any other thing at all, then that course of action is, in itself, sinful.

... who were dead in trespasses and sins: ... [Ephesians 2:1 KJV]

To continue in committing deliberate misdeeds, and wilful sinful actions is to be dead to all that is good and to be alive to all that is wicked.

4. Because it is un-caring

if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. [Ezekiel 33:9 KJV]

If a person should deliberately continue to live a sinful life they are being a bad example to others. Far from helping others to repent and believe the gospel, they are purposefully setting forth an example of a wicked life and that adds to their culpability.

The thought of what one's actions do to other people is sufficient to prevent one publicly living a wicked life.

5. Because it attempts to mock God

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [Galatians 6:7 KJV]

What we do, every day - and every hour of every day - sows seed in our own lifetime. And we shall reap what we have sown. If one should deliberately sow evil seed, knowingly, then one deceives oneself to think that one will not reap exactly what one has sown.

For God is not mocked.

6. Because it is contrary to Wisdom

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

God is not mocked. And neither shall Wisdom be so mocked.

To purposefully life a wicked life, supposing that there will be opportunity in the future to amend one's ways is contrary to all wisdom.

It is downright foolish.

7. Because it is foolish

Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. [Job 36:18 KJV]

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: [Luke 12:20 KJV]

8. Because such a thought should not exist.

What, then, shall we say? shall we continue in the sin that the grace may abound? Let it not be. [Romans 6:1 Young's Literal Tranlation.]

If God should be gracious to his sinful creatures and show kindness in the sending of his own Son that he might be the Saviour of the world, then the very idea of continuing to sin against him should not be in the mind of any one of them.

The thought should not even exist.

Let it not be.

9. Because others have proved it is a fatal way.

Esau presumed that, after he had lightly regarded what was of God (his heritage and his advantages) he could, on a future occasion, reverse his decision. But he was very much mistaken :

...for ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. [Hebrews 12:17 KJV]

Esau could find no place of repentance. Despite his efforts and despite his weeping tears.

The place was gone.

Another had taken his place.

And Esau was rejected.


Can someone be saved if they willingly live in sin? Since God forgives sins, why not live a sinful life? Then when I'm dying in my bed, I'll just ask him to forgive me for my sins.

Can such a one be saved? The answer is yes. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and there is no scriptural evidence to suggest that one must clean up their act prior to calling upon the Lord. The question here actually becomes will that one, having intentionally and selfishly contradicted God lifelong, suddenly renounce self and cry out for mercy on the deathbed? Scripture paints this as both unlikely and foolish for, one the one hand:

There is a hardening process and a "giving over" principle outlined in Scripture for our warning:

As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. - Hebrews 3:15-19

And on the other hand there is reliance upon a future day of opportunity that has not been guaranteed:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. - James 4:13-16

Today, right now, is the only opportunity to call on the name of the Lord:

“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. - 2 Corinthians 6:2

However, I suspect the question might actually be asking, "Is such a one as this saved?". That is to say, in accordance with Jesus' declaration in John 3 that one must be born again in order to see and enter the kingdom of God, "Has someone who willingly lives in sin lifelong been born again?" The answer is no:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. - 1 John 3:1-10 

This is not to say that one who is born again is sinless because then we would not have need of an advocate with the Father who is faithful to forgive us of and cleanse us from our sins when we confess them:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. - 1 John 1:8-10

The saved person has become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), is implanted with God's seed and born of Him (1 John 3:9), is indwelt by the Spirit of truth (John 14:15-17), and has entered into a process which was entirely foreign prior to the new birth:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. - Galatians 5:16-25

The Spirit of God within warring against the natural desires! This is particular exclusively to those who are saved and is a real sign of life (Romans 7).

In Summary

Saved (born again) people will still commit sin but it will not be a dedicated lifestyle over the long haul because the Spirit of God within them actively opposes it. The sanctification of the Spirit (1 Peter 1:2) is a process begun at the new birth and it is unto obedience: It is a work of God. The ability to contentedly refuse God and knowingly sin, banking on forgiveness at the 11th hour (as proposed in the question) is clear indication that the process has yet to begin. Such a person can be saved but there is no guarantee that they will for if God's voice is heard clearly enough to be actively refused in favor of sin then repentance and forgiveness are not merely being put off for another day, they are being spurned. This is wickedness and "the lamp of the wicked will be put out" (Proverbs 24:20)


I would like to let the Bible answer this question directly.

In the Gospel of John chapter 8, Jesus provides what I believe is a wonderfully simple and straight forward answer to this kind of question.

You will remember that the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught living a life of sin... I would like you to refer particularly to Verse 11 (i add the bold highlighting)

My take on the example below is that, in knowing our sins are forgiven and that we are no longer condemned, Jesus makes it quite clear what is expected of us...we must choose from that point forward to leave the former life of sin.

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


Then when I'm dying in my bed, I'll just ask him to forgive me for my sins.

This is an attempt to logically undermine the point of Salvation but it suffers the logical flaw that the person saying this is already accepting the logic of Salvation in an attempt to disprove Salvation.

The standard answer to this bit of illogic is the question:

And if you are walking across the street and not paying attention and get hit by a bus and killed instantly - how are you going to do that, exactly? The morgues are full of people who didn't expect to be unexpectedly dead. Pray that you aren't one of them. Except that since you renounced prayer until your deathbed, you can't do that.

Generally that gets the commenter muttering about lets change the conversation because you have demolished their logic trap.

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