Answers to Your Questions
Q: If God is love, as the Bible says, how can He send so many innocent people to Hell who never even had a chance to accept Jesus—all the millions upon millions who were born into different cultures and religions, as well as people from Christian cultures who never heard the true salvation message?
A: Many Christians believe and teach that anyone who doesn’t receive Jesus in this life is forever damned to Hell—that there is no second chance in the afterlife. That belief is nearly always based on a single verse: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
But there are many more verses that clearly show that God is a God of love, a God of understanding, a God who knows and cares deeply for each of His creations. He not only sent Jesus to die for us, but every day He works in our hearts to bring us closer to Him. Would a God who has gone to such lengths to love us into Heaven let go of His precious ones so easily?
The Bible tells us God’s mercy is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And God gave His son Jesus to the world “that all through Him might believe” (John 1:7). “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:15).
God does not play favorites when it comes to salvation, giving only those brought up in a certain culture or religion the opportunity to receive Him. His plan was that everyone should hear His message of salvation and have an opportunity to receive Jesus while they are alive. But those who don’t, because of circumstances or the failure of Christians to tell them, will have a chance in the next life.
One biblical example of salvation in the afterlife occurred after Jesus’ death on the cross, when He went to the heart of the earth and preached for three days to the spirits in prison (Matthew 12:40; 1 Peter 4:6). Why would He have preached to them if there had been no chance of them believing in Him and thereby being saved?
God is fair. He will give everybody sufficient opportunity, a fair and loving chance—dead or alive, now or then—to hear the Gospel, believe, and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.
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