Will People Go To Heaven Or Hell Whom Have Never Heard The Gospel Of Jesus?


The Bible is very clear that God in His providence has placed each and every single individual in a time and place so that they would have ample opportunity to seek him:

"From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live, God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us,"
Acts 17:27.

The holy scriptures also proclaim that all people are sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8-10) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the punishment of our sins is an eternity separated from a just and Holy God in Hell (Isaiah 59:2; Daniel 12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:10-15). 

The Bible also teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5) and that we must believe in and call upon the name of Jesus in order to be saved (Romans 10:9, 13; John 3:16).

A passage of Scripture that clears up any confusion on this issue is Romans 10:13-14; 17.  It clearly says that a person cannot believe in Jesus without hearing about Him and that faith comes by hearing the Word of God:

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?...So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


One question often raised is:

"The Bible says that there will be people from 'every tongue tribe and nation' in heaven, what happens if a tribe gets destroyed before the Bible can be translated into their language or a missionary sent to them with the gospel?"

The answer is that when any child from any tribe in the world has died before the age of accountability (Deuteronomy 1:39; 2 Samuel 12:20-23; Isaiah 7:15-16) they will go to heaven (Do Children Go To Heaven?).  If a missionary or a Bible wasn't sent to them it is transparent that none of them were truly seeking God.  The Bible boldly states that if you truly seek God that He will be found (Jeremiah 29:11-13; 1 Chronicles 28:9) and that God has placed us in the best time and place for this to happen (Acts 17:27).


ROMANS 1:19–20—Are the heathen lost?

PROBLEM:
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6).  Also, Acts 4:12 says of Christ, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (nasb).  But what if someone has never heard the Gospel of Christ, will he be eternally lost?  Paul seems to answer this in the affirmative.  But is it fair to condemn people who have never even heard about Christ?

SOLUTION:
Paul’s answer is clear.  He said that the heathen are “without excuse” (1:20) because “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (1:19–20). So, the heathen are justly condemned for several reasons.  First, Romans 2:12 states, “For as many as have sinned without Law will also perish without Law, and as many as have sinned in the Law will be judged by the Law.”  This passage teaches that the Jew is judged by the Law, the Hebrew Scriptures, but the Gentile is condemned by “the Law written in their hearts.”  “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:14–15, nasb).

Second, the question assumes innocence on the part of the saved man who hasn’t heard the Gospel.  But the Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).  In addition, Romans 1:18–20 says that God clearly reveals Himself through natural revelation “so that they are without excuse.”  Human beings are not innocent regarding God’s natural revelation.

Third, if a person who has not heard the Gospel lives his life to the best of his ability he simply is doing works for salvation.  But salvation is by grace, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).  Not in any way, shape, or form can anybody do anything to gain access into heaven.  If there was such a way, then the work of Christ on the Cross was a futile act.

Finally, the Bible says in essence, “seek and you will find.” That is, those who seek the light they have through nature, which is not sufficient for salvation, will get the light they need for salvation.  Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Acts 10:35 adds, “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” 

God has many ways to get the truth about salvation through Christ to those who seek Him.  He can send a missionary (Acts 10), or a Bible (Ps. 119:130), give them a vision (Dan. 2; 7), or send an angel (Rev. 14).  But those who turn their back on the light they have (through nature) and find themselves lost in darkness, have no one to blame but themselves.  For “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
(Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. 1992. When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties . Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.)


"From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live, God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
Acts 17:27
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
Romans 1:20-21