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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Does God Send People Who Have Never Heard of Christ to Hell?

God does not send people to Hell because they never heard of Christ. He sends people to Hell because they have sinned. The judgment for sin will be in relationship to how much they knew. To phrase it another way, it is action in light of privilege. A person living in America has maximum spiritual privilege. Therefore, the spiritual standard for America would be the gospel of Jesus and everything in the Old and New Testaments. But someone who grew up in an uncivilized jungle might be held to account for the fact that something in his conscience told him there is a Creator worthy of his worship. The Bible says his conscience will either accuse him or excuse him on the day of Jesus Christ (see Romans 2:14-16). God is not going to condemn people if their own consciences excuse them. Regretfully, every human being has sinned against his or her own conscience.

God does not judge people for failure to believe in Jesus, but because they are sinners. The problem is that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). For those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior, there will be forgiveness and mercy.

Will Babies Who Die Without Being Baptized Go To Hell?

Babies who are not baptized will not go to Hell because they are not guilty of anything. God will judge people on the basis of what they did in light of what they knew. Babies have not done anything wrong because they do not know the difference between right and wrong. And so they have not sinned. Furthermore, Jesus said, "Their angels always see the face of My Father who is in Heaven" (Matthew 18:10).

Remember also, original sin is a tendency to sin, not an act of sin. Original sin is not original guilt. To be guilty before God, a child has to understand that what he or she is doing is wrong.

What is the Age of Accountability?

This is a term that is not in the Bible but that some religious groups use to refer to the time when a child becomes accountable to God for his actions. That time comes whenever he or she is old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong and good and evil.

It may be at a very early age. Some children who are four or five years old are old enough to know Jesus Christ and be saved, because they are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. We have to be careful with little children. We should not cause them to build up an unnatural sense of guilt and make them feel guilty for things that are not really sin at all. If we teach them the major moral rules, that God Himself has set forth, then they will learn properly and naturally.

Children do reach an age where they are old enough to be held responsible for what they do. When that time comes, they will be judged by the same standards as everyone else.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson. 

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