Ask Your Preacher
Will people who have not heard about Christ go to hell?
Let’s look at a few teachings on this topic and see what the Bible says about those who aren't christians because they haven't heard about Christ.
- Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault. God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8). The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
- People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence. It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure. If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
- God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him. Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse. God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
- God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell. He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5). If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.
God is the final judge. We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27). The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.
I'd like a few answers to questions that are rarely (if ever) brought up in Sunday services. What happens to people with brain diseases? Is this another way for the brain to protect itself from trauma it can't handle? Are people born with Down Syndrome guaranteed a place in heaven?
Of Sound Mind
Dear Of Sound Mind,
Those with mental handicaps would fall under the same rules as children. In order to obey the gospel, we must have the maturity to:
- Take responsibility for our sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for our own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
Children and those with mental disabilities do not have that ability, and God only holds us accountable for what we are able to do (2 Cor 8:11-12).
All disease and illness is a consequence of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies began to die (Gen 2:17). When mankind was kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24), diseases of all sorts began to creep in. Mental diseases are just one consequence of that fateful decision that Adam and Eve made.
Is there a certain age to get baptized with the Holy Spirit?
You do not need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. In fact, the book of Acts gives a clear example of a group of people who were christians but hadn’t been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:12-16). The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a miraculous event that endowed people with the ability to perform miracles. Holy Spirit baptism happened to the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), and it happened to Cornelius and his household when the first Gentiles were preached to (Acts 10:44-45). Holy Spirit baptism doesn’t save you; water baptism is what saves you (1 Pet 3:21, Mk 16:16). In fact, when Cornelius and his household were filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said that they still needed to be baptized in water (Acts 10:46-48)! Holy Spirit baptism was a temporary, miraculous gift used to spread the Gospel in the first century before we had the completed Bible, but now that we have a perfect Bible, there is no longer any need for miracles (1 Cor 13:8-10). If you want to have your sins forgiven, you need to be baptized in water. Read “What Must I Do To Be Saved” for further details.
I would like to know: if you never got baptized and you passed away, would you go to heaven?
Dear Admit One,
We can only tell you what the Bible says about the topic of salvation. Our opinion doesn't matter. God will be the final judge of every soul, but He tells us that His Word has the power to save us if we will follow it (Rom 1:16). According to the Bible, baptism is a requirement of salvation. Peter said so in Acts 2:38 when he preached the first sermon after Christ’s ascension. In 1 Pet 3:21, it specifically says that baptism saves us. Mk 16:16 says that baptism is as integral a part of salvation as belief, and Paul tells us in Rom 6:4-5 that baptism buries us with Christ, so we might be born again without our sins. The Bible clearly teaches baptism as a prerequisite for salvation.
Lately, I have been feeling like I have not been the best christian that I ought to be. I try to be excited that I'm going to heaven and how blessed I am to know God and living how Christ would have me to, but sometimes I get so upset thinking about all those (including family) that won’t be there with me. I try to always be positive, hoping that others may come to repentance, but for some, I know there is no chance they will follow Christ. Why do I keep lingering on these thoughts?
You are facing a normal and healthy part of the christian growth process. It is a sign of compassion when that you look at those who are lost in this world, and it wrenches your heart. It is okay to be hurt by the vastness of those who have chosen the wide path to destruction (Matt 7:13). Jesus wept over His kinsman in Jerusalem that turned their back on the truth and rejected the gift of salvation (Lk 19:41-42). When Paul thought about his lost fellow countryman, it grieved him deeply… so much so that he wished he could trade places with their souls, so they might be saved (Rom 9:1-3). Paul’s heart’s desire was that his beloved kinsman would be saved (Rom 10:1-2), but he also knew that it was their choice, not his. You are having the same emotions that Paul and Jesus dealt with – take it as a sign of spiritual maturity and growth.
The important thing to remember is that the greatest help you can be to the lost is to be that shining light and preserving salt that Christ exhorted us to become (Matt 5:13-15). You can’t save everyone from their own choices, but, as Paul said, we try and live so that we can save some (Rom 11:13-14).