Question:

Question

Answer:

Is there no salvation outside the church? Will those who never heard of Jesus and his gospel be damned because they have not obeyed it? Will people with brain defects like Downs Syndrome be damned because they do not obey the gospel being incapable of doing so?


"Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10-12).

There is only one means for men to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ. There is no other means. Thus, to be saved you must be in Christ, that is in his church. "... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). Notice that both disobedience and ignorance are grounds for Jesus' vengeance. There is a lesson called, "The Lost Who Never Heard the Gospel," which covers the passages on this matter in detail. But in essence, this is the reason for the critical need to teach the gospel. People are lost without it.

What about small children and those who are mentally handicapped? The answer is simple, they have no knowledge of good and evil (Deuteronomy 1:39). Without that knowledge they are not held accountable for sin. "Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15).


Thank you for your answer, sir, but what about that statement of the apostle Paul on his letter to Timothy saying, "We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe" (I Timothy 4:10)? It says that he is the savior of especially of those who believe, but it does not say that he is the savior only of those who believe for it says that he is the savior of all men.  What can you comment about this, sir?


When Jesus died upon the cross, he died to save all men. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (I Timothy 2:4-6). Jesus did not die just for a limited group of people. The offer of salvation came to everyone through his death. "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (I John 2:1-2).

While the offer of salvation is freely given to everyone, it requires the one wanting salvation to accept the gift, and not everyone is willing to do so. "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" (Hebrews 11:6). But the only route to God is through Jesus. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:16-19). Notice what is being said. Jesus came that the world (not just believers) might be saved -- not guaranteed salvation, but have the possibility of salvation. However, the means of that salvation is through Jesus. Jesus gave the world the possibility of being saved by his death. But requires that we believe. Without that belief we stand condemn, regardless of Jesus' offer. On the flip side, all the belief in the world would not be enough to save a man without Jesus sacrifice.

This is why Paul qualified his statement when he said that Jesus was the Savior of all men, but especially those who believe. Jesus offered salvation to everyone, but those who believe are those who received salvation. Thus the gift of salvation is especially real to those who believe.

John 3:18-19 tells us that everyone will not be saved, this is a consistent statement throughout the New Testament. Your reading has God contradicting Himself by stating that everyone is saved, sinner and righteous alike and that no one will end up in hell. "But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:2-11).

None of these verses state there is any other route to salvation other than through Jesus and His church.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Salvation
Questions and Answers regarding the Age of Accountability
Questions and Answers regarding the Handicapped