Billy Graham Answers Whether People Get a Second Chance to Repent After Dying

The Rev. Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham speaks at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 31, 2007. |

Famed evangelist the Reverend Billy Graham says people will not get a second chance to repent after they pass away.

In an advice column published Saturday by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a person asked the 98-year-old preacher about a friend's claims about second chances at salvation.

"Will we have a second chance to decide for God after we die? My friend says she's banking on it," asked the person.

"She admits she doesn't want anything to do with God right now, but she also doesn't want to be lost or miss out on Heaven. What can I say to her?"

Graham began by noting that no part of the Bible says that "we might have a second chance to repent of our sins and accept God's offer of salvation after we die."

"After all, if we don't want anything to do with God now, why would we want anything to do with Him after we die?" wrote Graham.

"It's almost ludicrous to think that a person who turns his or her back on God now, will want to spend all eternity worshiping Him and serving Him and thanking Him for His love."

Graham went on to tell the person to pray for the friend so "that God the Holy Spirit will convict her of her sin and rebelliousness, and convince her of her need of Christ."

"In addition, ask God to make you a witness to her of Christ's love and peace. Does she see Christ in you?" added Graham.

"In spite of her attitude, down inside her life is empty and restless, and only Christ can take this away and give her the peace and hope she lacks."

This is not the first time that Graham has commented on the nature of salvation. In an advice column published by the BGEA last month, Graham clarified how deathbed conversions work.

Graham explained to someone who wrote in about a family relative planning to not convert until they were on their death bed as taking an "unwise" route.

"Your cousin, however, is unwise in thinking he can turn to God at the last minute and be saved; in fact, he is in grave spiritual danger," wrote Graham.

"For one thing, we can't truly receive Christ without sincerely repenting of our sins. But if he's unwilling to do that now, what reason does he have for thinking he'll be willing to do it later?"

Graham then pointed to another problem with his cousin's reasoning, which is that "he has no way of knowing if he'll even have an opportunity to repent."

"A sudden heart attack or stroke ... a fatal car accident ... a natural disaster — every day people die with no warning. Pray for your cousin, that he will face the foolishness of his ways and give his life to Christ," said Graham.

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