There is much debate on this topic. The following questions are hard to answer:
- What about those who never heard the Gospel?
- What about a good man who refused to believe in Christ?
- What about a pious man from other religion who refuse to accept Christ?
If we hold on to the Biblical truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, then there is no other choice but to say "Anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ whether they heard it or not will go to Hell!"
Now how can we reconcile with the fact that God is just?
Romans 3:23 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
We are born with sins. We are all sinners. No one is exempted from sinning.
Judgement on those who rely on the Law of Moses
Those who put their faith on the Law of Moses will be judged by the same Law. It's impossible for man to follow all the commandments.
John 5:45 (NIV) “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father.
Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.
Judgement on those who heard the gospel
Those who heard the gospel but refused to believe have no excuse but to stay in remorse forever. But who ever believed the Gospel will rejoice in the presence of Jesus because their sins are washed clean by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Not because of their good deeds or piety but because of their faith in His Death and Resurrection.
Judgement on those who do not have the Law of Moses nor ever heard the Gospel
On the Day of Judgement someone may ask "God, I was never told about Jesus but I was a good person. I helped many people, I never steal or murder!" But God will point out all their secret sins and that no one meets the standard of God.
Romans 2:14-15 (NIV) Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law,
do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for
themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the
requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences
also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and
at other times even defending them.
For this reason Christians are commanded to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded
you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.