There’s a question that routinely arises when discussing faith and salvation. Because we’re saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, people often wonder: What about good people of other faiths?
This question is understandable. Many of us know or have known people of other faiths. And they’re absolutely wonderful people. We value them and their friendship, so we can’t imagine them going to hell. We have trouble believing that they’ll miss out on salvation because they lack faith in Christ.
It’s also understandable because, as we’ve gotten to know people of other faiths, we’ve noticed that many of them are very devout. In fact, they seem to be better than most Christians we know. They are a very moral people and live out their faith in a way that most Christians do not.
Considering this, it hardly seems fair that they would miss out on salvation. It doesn’t seem just that they would be denied entrance into heaven while we’re accepted. And this makes us think that God will make exceptions for these people.
However, this question with which we struggle is a loaded question. It’s based on a false premise. The question itself implies something that is not true, leading us to a false assumption. The problem lies in the words “good people.”
The problem with this question is that, according to Scripture, there are no good people. We can see this in numerous places. One of the most clear is Romans 3:10-12 which says: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
Paul, quoting from several Old Testament passages, tells us that no one is righteous. He tells us that no one does good. And later on in this chapter, in verse 23, he tells us that all have sinned. He tells us that everyone has fallen short of the glory of God.
Because all people are sinful, because no one does good, no one is deserving of salvation. In fact, every one of us are deserving of nothing other than his wrath. God could send every one of us to hell at this very moment, and he would be perfectly just in doing so.
However, in spite of the punishment we deserve, God sent his Son into the world. He sent Jesus to give his life on the cross, paying the penalty of our sin, that we might receive salvation. And this salvation, which is available to all people, is received through faith in Jesus.
In John 14:6 Jesus clearly tells us that he’s the only way of salvation. In this verse, he says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s clear, then, that those of other faiths cannot receive this blessing. No matter what we want to believe, there is no Scriptural evidence to support the idea that people can be saved through any other faith. Any such idea completely contradicts the message of the gospel.
However, this is our motivation to go to these people. If they could be saved in another way, there would be no reason to go. But since, apart from Christ, they are lost, we are driven to share with them the gospel. We’re motivated to share with them the way of salvation that God has provided.