JERRY HAD ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT because of a terminal illness, so his wife asked me to visit him at the Veteran’s Hospital so that I could give him the Gospel. I started the conversation by asking him what his next step would be. He pointed upwards.
“Heaven?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Why are you going there, Jerry?”
“Because I’m a good person….”
I gently explained that no one is good enough and asked if he had kept God’s Ten Commandments, which is God’s Moral Law. He understood that he was a liar, a thief, an adulterer-at-heart, a murderer and a blasphemer, that he’d be found guilty on Judgment Day and he’d end up in Hell because of his sin. I vividly described the consequences of his sin and the reality of Hell for all those who would die unforgiven.
“But the good news is this,” I said with a smile, looking Jerry right in the eyes: “You broke God’s Law, yet Jesus paid the fine. God became a man in the person of Jesus—he was fully God and fully man—he paid the price for your sin by dying on a cross. He was buried and on the third day rose again. If you put your trust in him and turn from your sin God will forgive you. Would you like to be forgiven?”
“Then confess your sins to God and tell him you believe in his Son.”
He did and we prayed together. He also agreed to be baptized right then and there in his bed just as his daughter and grand kids came into the room to say goodbye. (Of course, I couldn’t baptize him by full immersion due to his delicate state, so we made do with the next best option.)
Then I told his wife to read Jerry the four Gospels so he could get to know Jesus; after that, she was to read him the last chapter of Revelation so he would be familiar with his new home.
She said she would.
I told Jerry I’d see him in a few years…in Heaven!
Like anyone who comes to faith in Christ for their salvation, Jerry did nothing to deserve God’s favor. By God’s sovereign grace, in the hearing of the gospel, God enabled Jerry to see himself for the sinner that he is and his need to repent and seek God’s mercy through faith in Jesus alone. God then saw Jerry as if he had never sinned because the penalty for his sins had already been paid for by Jesus on the cross, in his place.
That is good news. For you. For me. For Jerry at the last hour.
Five days later, Jerry took the next step.