Q. A young business man was a member of our Church. He had accepted Jesus and was baptized at age 16. He remained in constant contact with God and was driven by a desire to do what God wanted. One evening he gave in to the temptation that abounds in the business world and went drinking with business associates. On his way home he wrecked his car and was killed. There is concern in the local congregation that he is no longer saved, because he was sinning when he died and did not have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. Your thoughts?
A. Please inform your congregation of the following things.
1. Drinking alcohol is not a sin. Being a drunkard is a sin. This man was certainly guilty of poor judgment, but unless he habitually drank to excess he wouldn’t be classified as a drunkard.
2. We are saved because of what we believe, not because of how we behave. When the people asked Jesus, “What is the work God requires of us? He answered, “The work of God is this, to believe in the one He sent” (John 6:28-29). John 3:16, John 6:38-40 and others confirm this. Our salvation is not conditional upon the good works we do or the standard of behavior we adopt. On the contrary, they demonstrate our gratitude for having already received it.
3. When Jesus went to the cross for us, He made it possible for all the sins of our life to be forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14). Therefore, our salvation was guaranteed from the moment we became believers (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-22). It doesn’t matter what this man was doing when he died. If he was saved, as he appeared to be, then he had already been forgiven and you’ll see him in Heaven.