Can people who have never heard of
Jesus be saved? If Jesus is the only way to heaven, what happens to those who are never introduced or
exposed to Christianity? Why do some people have an "unfair disadvantage" to receive salvation?
The simple answer to the first question is, no. People who have never heard of Jesus cannot be saved according
to John 14:6, where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life -- no one can come to the Father
except through Me." This verse makes it clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the way to heaven.
He doesn't merely show the way; He is the way. Salvation is given by a Person, the Person of Jesus Christ.
Accepting Jesus as your savior gives you salvation. The Lord Jesus is not one of many ways -- He is the
only way. The way to God isn't by the Ten Commandments, living a "good" life, religious activities,
church membership, etc. -- it's through Christ and Christ alone.
Often, people ask, "What about the person living in the jungle somewhere who has never heard of Jesus?"
"Are you Christians saying that a person won't go to heaven based solely on where he lives?" The Bible
tells us that God doesn't work that way. We understand that God is perfectly loving, perfectly holy,
and perfectly just. Therefore, it's against His nature to "hide the ball" on salvation, or condemn someone
who is ignorant of His truth. In fact, scripture declares that God is loving and patient, "not willing that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
God is a perfectly righteous judge. Although we don't understand all of His ways, He somehow reveals the
simple truth of the Gospel to everyone throughout the world. In Africa, missionaries often tell how Christ
reveals Himself in nature. In India, it's been estimated that half the conversions to Christianity are a
result of Jesus simply revealing Himself in a dream or vision. Whatever the form of revelation, God holds
each of us accountable for what we know and what we've done with that knowledge.
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