Grace period is over for you when you die
The average person in our society is familiar with the expression Grace Period. What does that mean? Grace Period is a waiver of penalty for the time elapsed past a deadline that should have incurred some form of penalty for not fulfilling an obligation.
For example, a professor might permit students to turn in an assignment a day or two late without penalty. Likewise, many companies assess and collect late fees if payment of a debt is not received by the required due date. However, some companies do not impose the late fee for a few days past the original due date and that is the Grace Period. Having examined the benefits of this concept in our physical world, let’s see how it applies in the spiritual world.
God is holy, and therefore He hates sin. He is also just, and therefore He must punish sin (See Romans 6:23). On the other hand, He loves us so much that He provided a substitute, in the person of His Son Jesus, who died in our place for our sins (See John 3:16). Hence, if we believe in Jesus, He forgives us, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (See 1 John 1:9).
Similarly, God’s Grace Period, like the world’s Grace Periods,
has a limited window. It lies between now and the day you die. In other words, you need to believe in Jesus while you are alive. No one can do that for you. If you die without believing in Jesus, you choose to forfeit salvation and accept God’s judgment—hell.
The Bible says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV84).
The Bible provides examples of people who made good use of or missed the Grace Period. Noah’s generation was so wicked that God decided to wipe out every last one of them, except Noah. God instructed him to build an ark for himself, his family, and animals (See Genesis 6:1-22). Verse 22 says, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” He would have perished with the rest had he not followed God’s instructions.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked as well. God decided to destroy the place. He sent two angels to accomplish that task! The angels decided to spare Lot, the only righteous man at the time, together with his wife, two daughters, and the two future sons-in-law. They said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place” (Genesis 19:12-13 NIV84). When Lot warned his sons-in-law, they did not leave, because they thought he was joking (See Genesis 19:14). These two men had the opportunity to escape destruction, but they missed it.
Likewise, the people of Nineveh were very wicked people. God sent Jonah to preach and warn them of pending judgment. He said to them, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned” (Jonah 3:4 NIV84). The Ninevites repented; they declared a fast for the whole city. Because they repented, God did not bring the destruction He had intended (See Jonah 3:10).
Whereas in the world the duration of a Grace Period is the same across the board, the Grace Period in spiritual matters is not the same for all, because our lifespans vary. Some live longer than others, but your Grace Period is over for you when you die, or when you lose the ability to understand (as with poor health), no matter at what age. Procrastination is unwise and risky, because we don’t have the luxury of knowing ahead of time when the end will come. If we did, we could plan our day of salvation.