Will good deeds done just before death save a bad person?

Scripture: Ezekiel 18:20-22
Will good deeds done just before death save a bad person? If a person is living a wicked life and finds they are going to die, they cannot try to do good things in order to be saved. God looks at the heart. If a person turns away from his sins, the Lord will forgive them.
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Caller:  What if someone who used to be real bad, and you know, mostly like Scrooge, and then right before he died he’d do something good, like give away a lot of stuff.  Would God look at both the bad and the good, or only what He usually does – the bad?

Pastor Doug:  Well let me just share a principle here with you Jay, is that if a person is living a wicked life, and then just before they die – maybe they find out they’ve a terminal disease, they think, ‘Hey I don’t want to go to hell.  I want to go to Heaven.  So I’m going to try and give away some money to the poor so that I can be saved.’

You can’t be saved that way.  You can’t just decide to do a nice deed and God will forgive the bad things.  It’s a change of heart.  If a person has a change of heart the last hour of their life, yes they’ll be saved.

Caller:  Yeah I mean like you do something right before you get in a car accident.

Pastor Doug:  Well you know the Lord is hoping we’re not going to wait until the last minute to turn our lives over to Him because we can’t even choose to do that.  But the Bible is clear that if a person turns away from his sins, God will forgive him.  Now let me read a Scripture to you Jay ok?

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  This is the book of Ezekiel.  That’s in the Old Testament.  Chapter 18, verse 20.  It says, “The soul that sins it will die.  The son will not bear the iniquity of the father neither will the father bear the iniquity of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous will be on him and the wickedness of the wicked will be on him.”

“But …” here’s the part I want you to catch, “…if the wicked turns from his sins that he’s committed and he keeps my statutes and does that which is lawful and right, he will live and he will not die.”

So it’s telling us here that if a wicked person has committed all kinds of sins, and they repent and they turn from their sins – see, repentance isn’t just giving an offering to Salvation Army before you die and God is going to save you, because you can’t earn salvation – but if you have a change of heart, God will forgive all your wickedness.

It says in verse 22 of that same chapter, Ezekiel 18, “All his transgressions that he has committed, they will not be mentioned to him.  In his righteousness that he has done, he will live.”

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