I will never forget when I was in fifth grade and one of my classmates asserted that she was going to do whatever she wanted for the rest of her life then ask God for forgiveness on her deathbed. All I could do was furrow my brow and say, “It doesn’t work that way”. She identified herself as a Christian but at that age most of us just called ourselves Christians because we believed God existed. However, I’m sure that there are other “Christians” who believe the same. Christianity calls for humility, sacrifice, and discipline (among other things). If I want to indulge in the beauty of heaven, then I have to abide by God’s rules. How can I expect to be rewarded if I have done nothing to deserve it? If I disobey God, repent, and sincerely try to correct my behavior, I have no doubt that He would forgive me of my sin. If I intentionally and repeatedly disobey God, make no effort to change, then ask for forgiveness on my deathbed it would be foolish to assume that is acceptable. Conversely, if I read my Bible everyday, never miss church, witness to everyone I see, and try to be perfect just because I’m trying to get into heaven, most likely I will not make the cut because I can’t work my way into heaven either.
Living my life with no regard for God’s will, then saying “I’m sorry” or treating heaven as a prize to be won will not get me there. Only accepting God as my savior and making a legitimate effort to obey God’s law will ensure me eternal life in the presence of my Creator.