I believe that we all have a chance to be saved, including those who have never had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ – like the oft-mentioned jungle people. The Bible teaches us that we will be judged based on what we know, and also IF we are striving to get more knowledge about our Creator, his mighty deeds and his eternal power. We are encouraged to believe the truth (and to DO the truth) and to come to the light.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
We are not able to choose between believe or believe not unless we have reached a certain mature age, which means that babies and small children are not able to make such a decision. Babies (whether born or unborn), are not able to lose their souls because they are not aware of the law and they have no ability to sin. Hell is for unrepentant sinners, and not for innocent blood.
Deut. 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
Rom. 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Those who lived during the old testament were not able to believe in a person who had not appeared in the flesh yet (Jesus Christ), but they were of course able to believe in GOD (which Jesus Christ also is) and to get to know his will. In the old testament it was faith in God and living holy lives which could save a person, and just like in the new testament, people were able to REPENT and be restored back to life again. God is merciful!
Is. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,—7 And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;8 He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.—18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.—20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.—26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
Isaiah continues on the same note a few chapters later:
Is. 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. —8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.—10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.-–31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
Our conscience bears witness of what is in our hearts, and we will be judged accordingly
Paul warns us about ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, but in order to act in a wicked way we must first be old enough to be aware of the law and choosing to be disobedient (despite that we could have chosen to be obedient). We will be judged according to our choices and actions, but babies are not able to make any choices whether good or bad. If we repent for our sins, ALL our transgressions will be forgiven and we are completely cleansed!
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:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:—28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;—:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
It’s possible to by nature DO the things in the law, even if we do not have the law. This is revealed by the law written in our hearts, and what our conscience and thoughts reveal about us.
Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.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😉
We will be judged based on what we know, what we don’t know, and our willingness to get to know God and his ways. If we are blessed with lots of knowledge and abilities, much is also required from us.
Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, NEITHER DID ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, shall be beaten with many stripes.48 But he that KNEW NOT, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
If we are able to see mighty works of God, God expects more from us.
Matt. 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
The parable about the servants who were given different amounts of talents. It shows us that we might start out in a way that might not seem equal, but we will be judged based on what we do with what we have. Our permanent life is not spent on this planet, but in the afterlife.
Matt. 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
You would have no sin if…
John. 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Not everyone is doing the will of God
John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
1 John. 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1 Cor. 7:6 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin,[b] does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better. (NKJV)
Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Do we seek knowledge or do we refuse to fear the Lord?
Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.—22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Prov. 2:5 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.