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What Does the Bible Say About..Non-Christians Being Saved?

I find it hard to convince others as I cannot even convince myself that God will forgive Christians who have sinned, but will put those who do not believe in Him (though righteous) to eternal punishment. I believe God will judge righteously and this somehow does not seem very fair.

A lot of times, it is Christians who do not set very good examples that disgust and put off non-believers. I know that the only way man can have salvation is through the grace and mercy of God but I cannot deny the fact that it is some times due to our own acts or lack of effort in sharing that cause others to lose the opportunity to know Christ.

My father passed away from cancer last week. He is a great father and a great friend to many but he was not in Christ. I love him dearly. I miss him terribly. I blame myself for not trying harder in sharing with him God's salvation… Where is he now? I cannot bear the thought of him suffering in the afterlife. My other family members and so many relatives and friends do not know Christ. Are all of them going to be condemned to eternal hell? If I refer to the words of Christ, the answer is yes. But I cannot believe someone so merciful as God can allow that.

A friend shared with me that if you believe in God, He will take care of you and your family and all shall be saved. Does such verse exist in the Bible? I do not know where to find it. If yes, why was there no salvation for my father?

I believe that my father, like everyone, is child of God in the first place. It is due to world's evilness that causes us to sin. But I also believe that if he, or anyone, had the opportunity to know Christ and know the wonders and joy and comfort and love God can offer, he cannot deny God. I prayed for my father's healing and salvation, but God was silent. I was too late. I am left with a bleeding heart and my heart weeps at the thought of losing and missing my father. I fear I will never be able to see him again…

Will Jesus' second coming give another glimpse of hope to those souls not saved as with His first coming?

I realize that there are many things that God does which will not be understandable or be revealed to us and we are encouraged to accept that. However, that does not make it easier to for me to keep my faith strong…


Yours is a tough question, made tougher by your recent loss. I would ask that you read this now, if you wish, but especially that you read it again after several weeks. It is hard for me to answer you, because I know where you are. I know the pain you are going through. I also believe you don't really want answers now, but you will in the future. Right now you want to grieve, and should.

First I will answer your friend's well-meaning comments. There is no scripture that says that God will take care of all your family and save them all if you believe. There are a number of scriptures, most notably Ezekiel chapter 20, that say that each individual makes their own choice, and that God saves or not based on each individual's actions. Your faith can only save you and nobody else.

The majority of your questions appear to be summed up in your statement, "I find it hard to convince others … that God will forgive Christians who have sinned, but will put those who do not believe in Him (though righteous) to eternal punishment." Some people find it hard to reconcile that God is a loving God and yet a just God. If God's mercy did not temper his justice none would be saved. If justice did not temper God's love it would no longer be love.

God loves man, his creation, and does not desire "that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) Therefore, he sent his only begotten son to die as a sacrifice for man's sin. He specified how man could benefit from that sacrifice-faith in God, repentance of sin, immersion in water, and walking in a new life. That is God's love and mercy. Otherwise all would suffer eternally, because "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." (Romans 3:10) John said (1 John 1:8), "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." There is no righteousness outside of God; there are no righteous men except those whom God counts as righteous by forgiving their sin. So there are none that, in your words, "do not believe in Him (though righteous)." They have no righteousness but what God credits to them through His son.

But if God forgave everyone, even those who did not believe in Him, that would not be love. Because He made provision for accepting the sacrifice of His son, to forgive those who do not believe and obey Him would be unloving to those who follow His will. So even God's mercy is tempered by His love. Love, mercy, and justice taken together mean that some who do some good things in life but who do not obey God will suffer for their sins.

You say that you prayed for your father's healing and salvation, but God was silent. It may be that God was silent because He was listening for your father's response to His love and salvation.

You also appear to be taking on yourself some of the blame for "lack of effort" in teaching your father about Christ. Much of that is probably your grief. Ultimately no matter how much you might have told him it was his choice to believe or not. I tell you this as one who has been in your exact position, grieving for a father, and thinking "if only I had said something else."

Basically, though, I can not say, other than based on what God has said, what the eternal fate of your father is. That is up to God and not to me to decide, and for that I thank God. Will you see your father again at the second coming and judgement? I don't know. The Bible doesn't say. Might God forgive even though your father did not believe? I don't know. God's word seems to say otherwise, but that is up to God.

I am sorry for your loss, and sorry I can not be a comfort to you in the way you want. Believe me, I wish I could say something different for my own father's sake. Please don't let this shake your faith in God. Because He created us with free will, there are some things God can't do. Making us believe when we don't want to is one of those things.