... if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10
In late July I received a call from a man named Bill, a retiree who had moved to the area four years earlier. Some time before, Bill had been diagnosed with advanced, untreatable prostate cancer which had now spread to his bones. He was waiting to die. He wanted someone to come and visit with him. I took another man from our church and we went. A few days later he called back and wanted someone to talk with him about being saved. I went back and we read several scriptures together, including the one above. Bill prayed according to the scriptures and was saved. He told me he was no longer afraid to die. He attended church a few times, but was soon too weak and in too much pain to leave home. He wanted to be baptized so the pastor and I made arrangements to baptize him at home. A few weeks later he was moved into hospice care and then died on Saturday, October 6, and was buried the following Tuesday.
Why do I recount Bill's final days? As a reminder to myself and you of what we have in common with him. First, we are going to die. Bill had more knowledge of when he was going to die than we do, but we share with him the terminal illness of mortality that brings us all down in time. Second, we are in need of a Savior. Bill came to learn that his own efforts would not be sufficient, he needed someone to save him for he could not save himself. Whether we are cognizant of the reality or not, we cannot be our own savior. These two things all people hold in common, mortality and neediness.
But Bill's story has a third thing which some may not hold in common with him. Faith. Bill placed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and received grace.