“Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” (John 9:41 LSB)  https://accordance.bible/link/read/LSB#John_9:41

 

One of the consistent concerns or questions people have with Christianity is what happens to people who don’t have the opportunity to receive Jesus as their Savior. Do they go to hell only because they are ignorant of the one true God? First, no one goes to hell for ignorance. We go to hell, deservedly so, because we are born rebels against God. Our very nature is antithetical to the ways and nature of God and therefore everyone, from birth, deserves condemnation at judgement for their sin. But God is love, He is merciful, He takes no delight in the death and condemnation of any man. Therefore, God came to save us in Jesus the Savior. All must repent and be born again to enter into eternal life. Of the ignorant, of those who haven’t yet heard of God’s mercy and love expressed through Jesus, what of them? The Scriptures teach in the book of Romans that all people have both nature and conscience for making clear that God exists and that He should indeed be worshipped and obeyed. The complexity, order, beauty, majesty of nature itself points to a Creator. To deny the Creator is to deny God and to stay in condemnation. To ignore our conscience when we do wrong, to not repent and seek to do right, is to deny the inherent ‘presence’ of God Who made Himself known to us in a general way by our conscience, is to reject God and receive condemnation. But what about the baby’s who die, the mentally handicapped? Perhaps in this passage God gives us some insight. While the baby and the mentally handicapped are indeed born sinful through the seed of Adam being passed onto them, God in His mercy may pardon, through the sacrifice of Jesus, but of His own volition, these people who were not able to recognize Him in nature nor in conscience and so are received by Him to live forever with Him. This passage does not reject the rest of Scripture that clearly teaches our rebellious nature from birth and that we must be born again to receive life, but it may give us hope for those incapable in any capacity for recognizing God. Perhaps, they too shall receive life because God is merciful and in Jesus has satisfied God’s justice, providing a means for pardoning all people who come to Him for life or are incapable of doing so.

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