This is a very interesting question. Let’s see what the Word says about this. Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT.” The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one MAY RECEIVE THE THINGS DONE IN HIS BODY, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” After this statement, he goes on to say in verse 11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Paul understood that if one stands before Christ without being saved, he would face the “terror of the Lord.” The Lord Jesus said to those who refused to believe in Him, “I said therefore unto you, that YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS: for if ye believe not that I am he, YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS.” (John 8:24)

To those who die without having Christ as their savior, we read in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” God’s grace is extended to us while we are yet living. When one passes from this scene still in his sins, he will face a holy and righteous God…not a gracious and merciful God.

In the account of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, Abraham said to the rich man in verses 25-26, “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Once dead, the destiny of the rich man (and all people) was set for eternity. Notice that even though this rich man was in torment, we do not read that he repented of his sins. No, his concern was for his brothers. They were still alive and were still able to repent and put their faith in the Lord Jesus. Solomon speaks in prophetic terms in Ecclesiastes 11:3 where he explained, “…in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” The destiny of a person is set at death and cannot be changed. The sad truth is that when one dies unsaved, salvation is no longer offered to that person. The Lord Jesus said in John 5:28-29, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

What about one who puts his faith in the Lord Jesus at the ‘11th hour’? Can one come to Christ and receive salvation just before the point of death? Certainly he can! The repentant thief who hung on a cross beside the Lord Jesus asked the Lord for salvation…and he received it. Luke 23:42-43 says, “And he said unto Jesus, LORD, REMEMBER ME WHEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, TO DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.” At the point of death, this man received eternal life and is in the presence of the Lord Jesus right now.

When should a person put his faith in the Lord Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation? 2 Corinthians 6:2 gives us the answer to that question. That says, “…behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.) (310.7)