The caller said, “Pastor, can you visit my father? He is in hospice, and has requested that a minister stop by to see him.” As soon as possible, I went to his room, not knowing anything about his spiritual condition. Carl (not his real name) seemed anxious to see me and gestured to an empty chair at the foot of his bed.
Many times, I have been with people who are at the doorstep of Eternity. Some cry. Others are stone cold silent, while others stare out of the window hoping to escape. Carl was composed, rational, and clearly pleased that someone would visit. After a brief conversation he said, “David, do you know what delights me?”
Could it be that this diseased individual was going to brag on his business ventures, or sports trophies, or societal accomplishments? Or maybe he would boast of his Ivy League education or his extensive collection of antique automobiles. You never know what is going on in a person’s mind at this stage of life.
After I nodded to him, he said, “God forgives.” He went on to say that he had led a life that was contrary to God’s will. He had rejected Christianity, and embraced the offers of the world. But recently, this disease knocked him to his knees. He saw himself sitting on a heap of trash. All that he had accumulated in life was rubbish to God. When he expressed his sorrow to a close friend, that friend said, “Carl, God forgives.”
By now we were both crying. Through tears, he asked, “David, can God really forgive me?” After some brief comments, I shared 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Carl prayed and asked Christ to forgive him, and to enter his heart. In a moment, Carl was a new man. Though his body remained wasted, his soul was renewed like a new born. Indeed, Carl was reborn on his death bed.
Then, I told Carl to look away from his old life, and welcome the life to come. As Isaiah 43:25 says, “I am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more." God had already chosen to forget Carl’s many sins. HALLELUJAH - Carl was taking no baggage to Heaven! Carl would soon enter Eternity with the same testimony of Salvation as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – saved by the Grace of God through the Blood of Jesus.
Friend, must you wait for a tragedy or vicious disease to bring you to your spiritual senses? Or will you allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you right now? GOD FORGIVES! In this moment, ask Christ to rule and reign in your life.