Will Non-Christians Be Saved?
One of the major differences between our church and other Christians is our belief on how God will deal with people who don’t believe in Christ. The Church of God, International believes non-Christians will have an opportunity to learn about Jesus in the future and be saved if they choose to follow Him. A number of scriptures support this position. Let’s look at some.
The most important scripture to remember in this discussion is Revelation 20:4-5. Here we learn true Christians will rise and live for a thousand years in God’s kingdom on earth at Christ’s second coming. It also tells us that another resurrection will occur at the end of that thousand year period. That second resurrection is likely to include most of the non-Christians who have lived throughout history.
Another interesting item we read about in Revelation 20:7 is Satan will be let out of his bondage at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ. Right before Christ begins to rule he will have Satan put away for a thousand years. Now, why would God allow Satan into the world again at that time? Our belief is those who come up in the second resurrection will be flesh and blood humans again, who can be tempted by Satan. God will need to judge those people just like He is judging true Christians now. We live a life that is influenced by the god of this world, Satan the Devil. Just as we have to overcome the world to be proven worthy by God to partake of his kingdom, so will those who come up in the second resurrection need to be overcomers to inherit God’s gift of eternal life.
Many people have trouble understanding this belief because of their concept of what the judgment is. Many believe when the Bible speaks of judgment it means something that begins and ends quickly. That can be one way of understanding the Word, but the Bible also gives us another perspective on what judgment is.
I Peter 4:17 will shed some light on this topic. Here we read that judgment begins with the family of God. The judgment that was beginning with the family of God mentioned by Peter was ongoing persecution that the church was experiencing at that time in history. So we see from this context that judgment can be an ongoing event that can continue for an indefinite period of time. We believe when non-Christians rise in the second resurrection, they will have a period of time to learn about Christ’s ways and follow them. If they choose to instead follow Satan at that time, they will eventually suffer the second death.
A few more scriptures I’d like to leave you with can be found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke (Matthew 10:15, 11:20-24, 12:41-42; Luke 11:31-32). Each of these scriptures addresses what it will be like during the Day of Judgment. Notice something interesting here about the judgment it describes. Let’s look at only one of these scriptures in Matthew 11:20-24 and think about what we learned in I Peter 4:17. Jesus rebukes the towns of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernum for failing to repent when miracles were performed in them. On the other hand He says that Tyre, Sidon and Sodom would have repented if they had witnessed the same miracles. Then he says that it will be more bearable for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernum. Now if the Day of Judgment is an immediate sentencing against people for their sins where they are immediately destroyed, why would it be more bearable for the people from Tyre, Sidon and Sodom? Unless the day of judgment were a period of time when God’s Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. Those people who never had an opportunity to hear about God’s way (Tyre, Sidon and Sodom) will find it much easier to follow God than those who actually witnessed Christ’s miracles (Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernum). It may be less bearable for Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernum because of the opportunity they missed when Christ was around the first time.
There are many other scriptures that address this topic. If you would like a list of all the scriptures I have on this subject please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.