The man on his deathbed who recognizes his sin and repents is welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven the same as the young man who recognizes his sin and repents at his confirmation into the church body. God agrees to “pay” each the same wage; for as the wage of sin is death, so the wage of repentance is life.
God is bewildered by our complaint: ‘how come he gets the same as I do? I have served you all my life; he has just started to serve you right here at the end of his life when he has nothing more to offer. That’s not fair.’
God rebukes us; He tells us not to resent what He does with His creations. He is not unfair; He is kind. Neither the man who is dying nor the young man who is starting his life has anything to offer to God. God is the giver. We accept the gift, sometimes happily near the beginning of our lives; sometimes at their end.
Eternal life is the same for both. Recall how Jesus tells the thief on the cross, “I tell you this: today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 43)
“Thus will the last be first, and the first last.”