“Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Lord bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance, you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.” Sir 5:4-10 (New American Bible)
“Delay not your conversion to the Lord.” For it has been said by Christ many times – You do not know when the thief will come (Mt 24:42-44), or when the bridegroom will arrive (Mt 25:10-13), or when the owner will return from his journey (Mk 13:33-37), or the parable of the rich fool who stored all his wealth in a big barn, ”But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12:20-21) “Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.”
Yes, God shows mercy in the forgiveness of sins when repentance is sincere. Don’t be overconfident that you will have time to ask for forgiveness in the future. Even if you receive additional time to repent, sincerity is not something that you will be able simply to turn on when you need it. Sincerity is like a plant that needs water to make it grow, water which you must actively collect with your hands when it rains. It takes time to nourish such a plant. Complacency can become a habit, and habits are hard to overcome. At judgment time, you are judged by the actions and deeds you have sent before you, there will be nothing from what you have left behind. Once you are before the Lord, there is no plea-bargaining, your trial is over, and it’s time for judgment. Delay not your conversion to the Lord; it could cost you much more than what you think you have gained by delay.
Dennis Higgins (23 February 2017)