Mr. and Mrs. Brown were faithful members of their church and the taught their sons, Harry and Tom, to be faithful too. When the sons grew up Harry rejected his parents’ teaching and stopped attending church. Tom continued to be active in church.
The time came when Harry was about to die. He realized that he was not ready and finally repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. His life had been wasted because he had lived for his own pleasure but in the end he was saved.
Tom also reached the end of his life. Looking back he realized that he had tried to live a Christian life but in fact he was not a Christian because he had not repented and believed in Christ. Near the end of his life he finally took this step. His life had been wasted because he had trusted in his church and his service to it rather than in Christ but in the end he was saved.
When we think of deathbed salvation we generally think of someone like Harry rather then Tom. The Bible gives us an example of such salvation. One of the criminals who was crucified with Christ repented and was told that he would be in Paradise that very day. We often forget that all people, regardless of how good a life the live, fall short of God’s standards and need to be saved.
There was a time when I was on the way to ending up as Tom did. I had gone to Sunday school as long as I can remember. When I was 14 years old I got baptized and became a member of my church. I was active in the church and at one time seriously considered becoming a preacher. The only thing wrong was that the church was liberal in its theology and on one there had ever told me how to be saved.
God didn’t wait until I was on my deathbed to save me. About two years after I joined the church I began listening to a radio program called Back to the Bible and through it a learned the true way of salvation.
Someone who lives a life contrary to the Bible doesn’t need to wonder whether he is saved or not. If he thinks about the subject at all he will know he isn’t. But it is possible for someone to live a life that is outwardly righteous and not really be saved. The Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” Satan uses many tricks to keep people from being saved; one is to convince us we are already saved. Examine yourselves to make sure you are not falling for this trick.