Some promote the idea that we cannot say a departed non-Christian is in hell, in that he might have repented secretly just before he died. Here are some thoughts on unknown late repentance.
1. We must remember the fact that there is no reason to think they did repent, if indeed there was no genuine evidence of it before death.
2. The Bible does not give encouragement or comfort about such thinking – that they might have made some secret repentance.
3. The Bible makes salvation contingent upon a confession. (Rom 10:.9-10)
4. The Bible boldly assumes men perish, if there is no reason to think they repented; for example:
a. Judas Iscariot
b. the false workers, Phil. 3.19, “their end is destruction”, and, 2 Cor 11.15, “their end is according to their deeds.”
5. The devil would like to promote such thinking, as he would rob God of His glory, the glory God would get from putting the person in hell, or receiving a confession, as in the case of the thief on the cross.
6. The sinner would like to hear such thinking, for it would encourage him to continue in his sin and slip in to heaven the way he presumes the deceased hopefully did. After all, that is what these Christians are saying and hoping, and they claim to be ‘in the know.’
Death-bed0A repentance is rare. “There is one death bed repentance recorded in the Bible (the thief on the cross), so that no one despair, but there is ONLY one, so that no one will pr esume.”
Death-bed repentance is rarely true. True repentance can be late, but late repentance is seldom true. “Late repentance is seldom satisfactory.” J.C. Ryle.
– Bob Jennings