I know there are many wonderful people in the world that are not Christians. People that are caring and help others. People who lead a pious life, who dedicate themselves to helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and taking care of the sick. People who spend their lives working for the betterment of mankind; but if they have not asked Jesus into their hearts they will not be living eternally with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in Heaven. I know to some this may seem harsh and narrow minded. I understand how you might feel this way. This is how God has established this, it isn't something that organized religion has just came up with.
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is John 3:16. Most of us memorized this in Sunday School when we were very young. But have you read and contemplated the next two verses? Sometime we don't get the complete thought and explanation in just one verse, or if we take it out of the original context.
16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Then the Revised Standard Version says it slightly different:
16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
God provides a way for our salvation. He is perfect and just and loves us so very much. Because of His holiness we cannot come before Him unless we have been "justified". Jesus provided that sacrificial "payment" on the cross. We are now covered in the blood of Jesus. When Father God looks at us He sees that covering on us. We still sin, yet our belief and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, allows us the redemption from that sin.
So many people use the argument against Christianity of "How could a loving God condemn us to eternal death and damnation in a place such as Hell?" Because they have that thought they cannot get past it to see that God is loving and kind and good. They have not read the 17 and 18 verse of John 3.
Let's read it again: 17. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Our lack of belief in Jesus as God's Son and Savior of the world, causes us to condemn ourselves. God does not point His finger at us and send us into the darkness of eternity. We do it ourselves with our unbelief. You may say, It's the same thing, but it is not. God in His great mercy and love has set up a way for us to be delivered. If we do not choose to believe we are condemning ourselves.
Look at it this way: If a ship was sinking and a life boat was provided we have the choice to take a seat in the lifeboat and in doing so find salvation, or we can stay on the sinking ship and then curse the life boat captain for condemning us to death. Make sense?
God does not condemn us. Our lack of belief in Jesus Christ condemns us. Now as the thought that a good person might not make it to Heaven, I have to say, that being good does not get you to Heaven.
Feeding the poor, finding new cures for disease and all the good intentions in the world will not get you there. There is only one way to Eternal Life and Jesus Christ is the Way.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
And as to the thought that a good God could not and would not condemn those to Hell that had not heard the salvation message, I will tell you what I believe. I believe that the Holy Spirit makes Himself known to each and every human being. They may be in another "religion" or without one, but I believe that God will personally seek out each one of us and give us an opportunity to know Him. Then it is up to the person to either accept or reject this approach of the Holy Spirit. This may be up for debate, but I feel this is what the Bible speaks of in Romans the first chapter.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they (mankind) are without excuse."
God's creation speaks of Him and causes all mankind to know that God does exist.
So for those in other religions, I believe God is so good that He desires no one perish. That does not mean all will go to Heaven. He will attempt to make Himself known to those who do not know Him. Each person then has an opportunity to be willing to hear more about Jesus. And if you are in a church or denomination that holds no "spark" of the Holy Spirit, I would seek God if that is where He wants you. If you have been in a religion, or even a denomination that offers you no hint of the power of the Holy Spirit I would question if that is where you are supposed to be.
18. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20. teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
This doesn't let us off the hook for evangelism and the spreading of the Gospel; we are clearly called and mandated to do this. But I do feel like that, even those who have not heard the Gospel message of Jesus Christ will be given a chance to know the Truth. They are given a chance to know Jesus. I have read (can't give you particulars on this, but I know that I have) that certain people groups in various parts of the world have had dreams and visions of Jesus, without ever having been exposed to the Bible or missionaries.
So we see that God does all that He can to bring us to the point of salvation. He is good, loving, not desiring anyone not know Him. But inevitably the decision to ask Jesus into your heart is your own personal decision. If you have not done that, please pray for Him to do that right now.
Love, in Jesus,