Note: All Scripture quotations found in this article are from the text of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
A popular question is the question; What about the heathen that have never heard the gospel, do they go to Hell?
First, we must know that since we are saved, we have a debt to the lost. We are to witness to the lost and not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People cannot get saved unless someone goes and tells them how to be saved.
Romans 1:14 "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
God being Holy has to punish all sin. He has shown everyone that there is a God through nature, so all are without excuse.
Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 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:"
God has given everyone a conscience, so everyone knows right from wrong. Missionaries have told stories about people that have never heard the gospel. One Missionary once said that on an isolated island they were punishing the sin of stealing by cutting off an arm and adultery by burying the man up to his head. They knew right from wrong without even hearing about a Bible, nor having anyone tell them about God's law.
Romans 2:14 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"
By observing nature, anyone can know that there is a God. Technology has got us away from this fact by distracting us with the inventions of man. Anyone with any sense could look out their window and know there is no possible way that all of this got here by random chance.
Job 12:7 "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind."
Only fools say there is no God in their HEART. Notice it says the heart because everyone knows there is a God in their head, they just do not want to admit it, nor have an authority. Their pride keeps them from the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalms 14:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
People will say, "What about the good people that have never heard the gospel?" The truth is, there is none good and we all sin against God.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Proverbs 20:9 "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?"
God has shown himself to every creature by his creation. He uses the heavens and stars to preach of His existence throughout the whole world.
Psalms 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,"
If people die and go to Hell it is not God's fault, rather it is our fault. Jesus is not a Calvinist, He died for the sins of the WORLD. The Lord does not want anyone to go to Hell. If they go to Hell it is not because God did not send his only begotten Son to die for them. It is because you are not witnessing, giving out tracts, street preaching, singing, giving your money to Missions and obeying God when He told you to witness to uttermost, teaching ALL nations about His Son(Matthew 28:19).
1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
No one can get to heaven, but through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. If someone never hears the gospel because Christians are not obeying the word of God, then they go to Hell. It is not God's fault, but ours for not witnessing. If people go to heaven because they never hear then we should just close our mouths and never talk about Jesus Christ, but we know that logic is wrong because it goes contrary to the scriptures.
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Although, babies, children under the age of accountability and the mentally disabled go to heaven if they die because sin is not imputed to someone until they receive the knowledge of good and evil(Deut. 1:39). Remember that the law of good and evil is written in hearts of those above the age of accountability(Romans 2:15).
Romans 4:15 "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
In the below passage, the black man did not know of Jesus Christ, but wanted to worship God. He had a strong desire to want to know God and God led someone to witness to him. It is the same way for today. If someone truly wants to know God then God will make a way for them to get the gospel. At the end of the passage, the black man gets saved. Acts 10-11, speaks of Cornelius, who is religious, but lost. He searched for God and God sent Peter to preach to him. Also read Acts 16:8-10.
Acts 8:26 "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
I heard a Missionary tell a story of a man on an island that got in the top of a tree and looked across the sea. He prayed with tears that God would show himself and just weeks later a Missionary arrived and gave his whole village the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is not a fairytale, that is the truth.
Dr. Ruckman once told a story of a black man in Africa walking through the forest. The black man looked down and found a tract by written Dr. Ruckman. The man read it and got saved. He wrote Dr. Ruckman for years and Dr. Ruckman sent him material to help him grow in Christ. Dr. Ruckman does not know how that tract got there, but somehow God got that tract to a man in Africa, who later became a preacher that preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in Africa. You see? This man got saved and did not leave it at that. He got saved and studied the Bible and led souls to Jesus Christ. What are you doing for God?
The question is not, "What happens to the heathen that have never heard?". The question is, "Why have those heathen not heard?". It is our duty as Christians to obey the Bible and witness to all nations. Think about it. There are people in our very own city that have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel! It is not just people that live in other countries that have never heard. I hope this article answers some questions, while setting a fire in your heart for lost souls that are dropping off into a burning Hell every second.
Isaiah 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."