The requirement for salvation, according to the Bible, is faith + repentance back to Moses. But what about the age-old question that has plagued Christians for centuries, what happens to deathbed salvations? Someone who is about to die does not have the time to repent or to learn how to obey Moses. Are they saved if they confess faith in Yehoshua (Yeshua/Jesus) as their Lord and Savior?
To understand the answer to this question, we first have to understand Yehovahs justice system in the book of Leviticus.
The sacrificial system was perfect and well able to atone for sin, but only unintentional sins. If someone had sinned intentionally, there was no hope for them, they had committed the unforgivable sin and would forever have to live under the curses of the law (Deut 28:14-45). Someone like that could never be free from their sins or the consequences. When Paul says we are a slave to sin, this is what he is talking about. Someone committing an intentional crime under the sacrificial system would forever be enslaved to sin and live under the curses of the law in Deut 28:14-45.
When Jesus died on the cross, His Blood did something; the sacrificial system could not do. His Blood atoned for unintentional AND intentional sins. For the first time, in human history, people who had been a slave to their sins could be forgiven and be reconciled to Yehovah.
This is why the Bible says the cross is greater than the law of Moses. Not that the cross replaced the law, but the cross did something the sacrificial system could not do. The cross atoned for intentional sins.
Nowhere in the Bible do we see Paul saying the cross has ended the law of Moses. But we do see Paul saying the cross is greater than the law because the cross did something the law could not do. This does not mean the law is ended or abolished. We see it is not ended and not eliminated from Acts 15, where the apostles expect gentile believers to learn how to obey Moses.
But we also see in the book of Hebrews how the law is still in effect.
In the book of Hebrews, the warning from the book of Leviticus is repeated. Someone who sins and deliberately violates the Mosaic law, after accepting Yeshua as their Lord and Savior, has committed the unforgivable sin.
So even though the cross did something the sacrificial system could not do, by atoning for intentional sins, atonement for deliberate sins is a one time offer. You cant atone for your intentional sins and then go on sinning intentionally. If you should choose to do so anyway, you will lose your salvation.
What are intentional sins?
When you are fully convinced the law of Moses applies to you, but you dont want to obey it, you are sinning intentionally.
So what happens to someone who repents and has faith in the cross? Are they able to in unintentionally?
The sacrificial system in the book of Leviticus, and 1. John 1:9 tells us a Christian is well able to in unintentionally. When we do, we should follow the rules of Yehovah’s justice system in Leviticus and 1.John 1:9 by choosing to confess our sins and repent of them. If we confess our sins and repent of them, 1 John 1:9 and the book of Hebrews says Yeshua in the heavenly temple as our high priest makes atonement for us. And because He is in the heavenly temple as our high priest, we can know for sure we are forgiven.
This brings us back to our original question, what about deathbed salvations?
The Gospel of John identifies Yeshua as God’s lamb, who takes away the sins of this world. He is our atonement for our intentional sins and unintentional sins. If someone makes a deathbed confession of faith in Him as their Lord and Savior but has no time to learn how to obey Moses and show they have repented, the book of Leviticus and the Gospel of John says they are forgiven for all their sins on account of their faith in the cross.
So if someone makes a deathbed confession of faith, and they understand their need for repentance, they will still be saved even though they have no time to learn Moses’s law and live in obedience.
But this comes with a warning in the Bible.
In Matt 5:19 Yeshua says those who obey Moses and teach others to follow Moses, will be great in the Kingdom of God. Those who disobey Moses, and teach others to disobey Moses, will be the least in the Kingdom of heaven.
So if someone lives their entire life as an unbeliever and then makes a deathbed confession of faith, they will still be saved, but their status in the Kingdom will be the least.
Have you loved ones who made a deathbed confession? If they were sincere in their minds when they confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, they are saved and in heaven right now. But, they are not among the great ones in heaven; they are among the least.
The question then gives itself, what about those who have been deceived into believing the law of Moses does not apply to a Christian? Their faith is in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and they have lived long, faithful lives as good moral Christians. Some of them have had ministries and preached the Gospel, but they dont believe Moses applies to them as Christians.
Matt 7:21-23 answers this question for us.
When they die and expect to be let into heaven, they will hear “Depart from Me for I never knew you, you who are without Torah.”
The Bible is very clear on this: If you believe Yeshua (Jesus) as your Lord and Savior, and you are not about to die within the next few minutes, you are obligated to learn Moses’s law and obey it.
If you believe Yeshua is your Lord and Savior, but you also believe the law of Moses does not apply to you, the Bible says you are not saved.
So make the right choice today, repent back to Moses, and live with faith in the cross as atonement for your past intentional sins and your current unintentional sins.