This question usually is asked when someone quotes John 14:6 (NIV), AJesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.@, or perhaps John 3:18 (NIV), AWhoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.@. It stands to reason that if the Bible says a person is condemned if they do not believe in the name of God=s one and only Son, and they have not even heard the name Jesus, that they would be condemned.

The problem with that deduction is it is not consistent with the attributes of God. God is perfect and God is fair, and God does not change, so one can rightly surmise that God is always perfectly fair. It would not be fair to condemn someone for not believing in a name which they had not even heard.

It is not the name Jesus that we believe in. Well, it is and it isn’t. If you speak English the name is Jesus, but if you speak Spanish the name is pronounced differently. In Hebrew the name is Yesua, Yehosua, or Joshua.

It is what the name means that is the most important. It means AGod Saves@ (Jehovah is his help, or Jehovah the Savior). I believe this is what the Bible means when it says a man is condemned if he doesn’t believe in the name of God=s one and only Son. A person can believe that a loving God will save them with out knowing the details about Jesus. No one in the Old Testament knew the name of God=s one and only son; Jesus. Yet all that were saved knew that God saves. They all understood that it is only God that can save and that they needed forgiveness and salvation. Though they had many verses explaining Jesus and what He would do for all of mankind, God had not given them the proper name AJesus@, only the understanding of what it means.

God is always fair, just, and loving, so much so that the Bible says, AGod is love@(1 John 4:8 & 4:16). If we can keep this first and foremost in our thoughts we will not be troubled about whether children, or someone who has not even seen a Bible, or pagans, or anyone is saved or not saved. It would not be fair, just, or loving to condemn anyone who has not had the opportunity to be saved, so God would not do such a thing.

Believe in the goodness of God and all of these questions will fade away.


Just another example of the fairness of God.

(John 9:40-41 NIV)  Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.


  1. justordinary says:

    It is the responsibility of the “Church” or “the believers” to go out and educate those who may not hear of Jesus so that they may have the chance to be saved. With that said I do believe those who are not saved or do not believe are not allowed in heaven regardless of whether or not they’ve heard the proper name for Jesus. Nice post. It was interesting to read.

  2. astudent says:

    Justordinary, (Great name)

    “It is the responsibility of the “Church” or “the believers” to go out
    and educate those who may not hear of Jesus so that they may have the chance to be saved.”
    Of course it is our responsibility to educate the lost, but I think that we do not start from the beginning. Look at Ezekiel chapter 3 verse 17-21 and you will see that we are responsible to warn those who sin that they do indeed sin. If they will admit to the truth then we can present Jesus. If we present Jesus before the lost admit they are sinners it usually makes no sense to them.

    “With that said I do believe those who are not saved or do not believe are not allowed in heaven regardless of whether or not they’ve heard the proper name for Jesus.”
    If you mean someone who has heard about Jesus and will not accept Him then I agree. However, I must stand by my statement that God is absolutely fair and just, so the person in the deepest part of the jungle, who has not heard of Jesus, still must have the opportunity to be saved. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
    That is not to say there is another way to God. Only Jesus was without sin, so only Jesus could take the punishment for someone else’s sin. Who in the Old Testament knew Jesus, or understood that He had to be crucified? It is true that they knew they had to have a redeemer, but they knew little about Him and no one knew His name.

    It is a good comment and from the heart.

    Aren’t we saying the same thing? If you take the double negative out of the first part of your statement *With that said I do believe those who are saved or believe are allowed in heaven regardless of whether or not they’ve heard the proper name for Jesus.* it seems to agree with me. I know you did not mean it that way, but I thought it funny.

  3. joel says:

    My friend,
    People are not condemend simply because they fail to believe. John 3 says they are condemned ALREADY. Jesus came to die for sin, and it is sin that condemns. Sin is abhorrant in the eyes of God and scripture says that even our so called good deeds are nothing more than filthyness before a Holy God.

    Is God fair?? Was it fair that Jesus was beaten, cursed and killed for my crime. I broke God’s Law and He paid the fine. How is that fair? I thank God he is not fair. Because if He were, I’d be condemned to Hell, a wretch and sinner. However, God is JUST. And that is what should drive the condemned to the mercy of the cross. Christ is the only provision. He was the provision for Abraham, for Moses and for every repentent sinner from everlasting to everlasting. I’m not sure how that mystery all works out, but I do know that God has appointed you and I to go into all the world. If so called born again beleivers really believed this, then the we’d have a lot less Christians chasing after worldly things, and more being the hands and feet of Christ. Myself included.

  4. astudent says:

    You are correct and I agree that everyone is condemned from the git go. Those who believe (And if they truly believe they will turn to Jesus) are saved. So it can rightly be said that those who are condemned are condemned because they fail to believe. So I guess I fail to see your point.

    “Was it fair that Jesus was beaten, cursed and killed for my crime?”
    Fair for whom? Those who beat Jesus were not being fair, because Jesus was innocent. But God was not being unfair. The penalty for sin is death and Jesus agreed to pay that price. If that was the price set then it was fair. The death I refer to is the second death or separation from God. He didn’t try to pay less and God would not have accepted less which would have been unfair.
    The definition of fair that I mean (There are many) is “Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator. b. Just to all parties; equitable.”
    God is fair to the sinner because all could turn and be saved.
    God is fair to the believer because he/she meets the requirements and therefore are saved.
    God is fair to Jesus because He had to pay the full penalty for our sin and He did. God did not show favoritism even for His only Son.
    All God asks from us is to admit that we are imperfect sinners and then be buried with Christ. If that is all He asks and we do it then it is fair. If you do not do this then God will banish you from Heaven and that is also fair.
    Salvation is a wonderful, awesome, loving, thing. It is a plan that only God could design, but it seems to me to be completely fair, to everyone.
    If one is said to be just then by definition they must also be fair (b. Just to all parties).
    Just is a synonym for fair in my dictionary.
    I think you are confusing fairness with mercy. The whole plan of salvation is merciful.
    Joel, I agree with most of what you said. I ask only one thing. If we stand together before God and you decide to tell God He is unfair let me know first, will you. I don’t want to be there when you do.
    Just kidding and thanks for your comment. Comments always make me think and rethink and that is good.

  5. Grace Rusch says:

    Bible never says God is fair. Bible says God is Just

  6. astudent says:

    Grace Rusch,
    You say, “Bible never says God is fair. Bible says God is Just”
    OK, can you quote a verse in the Bible that says God is unfair?
    One has to understand everything in context. Ask yourself, “Can anyone be just without being fair’? I don’t think so, but maybe I am missing something.
    Here are the definitions for the words “fair” and “just” that apply to what I have said. (American Heritage Dictionary)
    6.a. Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial: a fair mediator. b. Just to all parties; equitable:
    8. Consistent with rules, logic, or ethics:
    12. Archaic. Free of all obstacles. –fair adv. 1. In a proper or legal manner: playing fair.
    –idioms. fair and square. Just and honest.
    no fair. Something contrary to the rules
    Honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions: a just ruler. See Synonyms at fair1. 2. Consistent with what is morally right; righteous:

    Notice that the word fair means Just to all parties and the word just means fair in one’s dealings: also fair is a synonym of just. How would it be possible to be just without being fair?
    It seems that when anyone says the Bible doesn’t say God is fair they are viewing God as Calvin did. Calvin’s god is not fair and therefore not just. It is not fair to condemn someone for something they could not have avoided. Calvin says God is just and then he says that God chooses those who are saved and neither the saved nor the lost can do anything about it. That is not just, because it is not fair.
    The Bible says, “If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it.” (Ezek 33:18 NIV) The very next verse says, “And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so.”
    Either Calvin is wrong, or the Bible is.
    Calvin and Islam say the same thing about salvation: it is God and only God that chooses those to be saved. The only difference is Calvin says Jesus came to save the saved.
    That is not the message that I received from the New Testament.
    All that aside, I would be very interested in how you think or believe anyone could be just and yet unfair.
    Perhaps I have something to learn.

  7. Rethink says:

    I agree with you very much on this subject.

    I’d also like to add that in Romans 2: 6-16 it says. Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

    10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    11For there is no respect of persons with God.

    12For 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.

    14For 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:

    15Which 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;)

    16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    I think that explains jutsifaction in Gods eyes very well.
    I want to comment also to others that say you’re going to hell even if you have never heard of Jesus, It’s clear not only in the passages I just posted but also in many others that God is a fair and just God, he is perfect, his perfection a perfection I think we try to define but I believe we will not completely understand until we see him.

    Until I found this passage I was bent wondering how a just God could condemn those who have not heard his words, but when I found it, that was a revelation that saved my faith.

  8. astudent says:

    Good verses from a good Book. I certainly agree with you also. I believe those who make the claim that only those who know Jesus are the only ones that are saved have just not thought it out. I had not connected these verses to the question of who is saved, but I see now that I should have. I might add that not knowing what Jesus has done for us does not detract from the wonder, or effects of it. At the same time, we know the story of Jesus and we should be telling it and obeying what we are taught. Thanks for the insight and caring enough to say it.

  9. child says:

    Hi astudent, i read everything and i believe in every single word you said. That’s why I really need your help on some similar topic, plz contact me


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