I was once young. Now, by the standards of many, I am old. Once I was straight-backed and strong. Now, not so much. And I know better than I have ever known that the day is approaching – soon or maybe not so soon but approaching nonetheless – the day approaches when I will lie on a hospice bed, just like so many people I’ve cared for during my nursing career. One day, like them, I will lie on a hospice bed awaiting my last breath.
And as I lie there, waiting for eternity, I know I will not at all take comfort in how many degrees I’ve earned, how many friends I have, how many good works I’ve done, or any of the dozen or so things in which so many people boast. Nor will I take comfort in the philosophies of fools who have told me God and heaven don’t exist. Or the wolves in sheep clothing who have told me God, if He does exist, is too loving to condemn sinners to hell. Or the liars who have told me God will weigh my good deeds against my bad. No. Those lies will not give me comfort.
But I will tell you what will give me comfort as I lie there on that bed. It will be the full assurance and knowledge that all my sins, every one of my sins – the ones some call venial and little, and the ones they call mortal and deadly – God has forgiven me of each one. Why? Because decades ago, I confessed them to God, followed the Lord Jesus in baptism, and have lived a life of ongoing and daily confession and repentance.
I will lie there forgiven not because of how good I’ve been, or how many good works I’ve accomplished; No. But I will lie on that bed forgiven only and only and only because of what Jesus Christ himself alone accomplished for me on that cross when He took all my sins and the wrath of God I deserve for my sins – He took them on Himself as my sacrificial atonement. I will lie there in comfort knowing that my entry into eternal life is guaranteed by the most precious blood of Jesus who died as my substitute.
And you? You might be young now. And straight-backed. And strong. Listen, please. It will be a blink of the eye before you are old, and stooped, and not so strong. And you will find yourself on your own hospice bed.
What will give you comfort on that bed?
Please, please. Do not be a fool and say in your heart that there is no God. Do not be a fool and say in your heart that God will weigh your good works against your bad. There will be only one way to have full assurance of an eternal destiny in the place called heaven. And that is through faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ in this life. There are no second chances. And there are no guarantees that He will permit you to live to old age.
What will you do with Jesus today? I beg you, please, if you have not yet done so, do as the apostle Peter told the crowd on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38). And live from today until the day of your death in ongoing confession and repentance.
Your hospice bed is not that far away.