This article was originally published in the Letters Section of|
Pasugo: God's Message, September 2001 issue
How will they be judged?
The Church of Christ that you preach was only established in 1914. If you teach that it is only this Church that Jesus will save, then what will happen to the people who lived before 1914 when there was no Church of Christ yet? And how about the people who live in places where there is no Church of Christ (e.g., in the tribal societies in Africa); when Jesus returns, won't they be saved?
The answer to your question is stated by Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome:
"All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
"(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are writter on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.}" (Rom. 2:12, 14-15, New International Version)
Apostle Paul explained that those who had not received the gospel, such as those who lived and died before the emergence of the Church of Christ in 1914, will be judged throught the law that is written in their hears with their consciences bearing witness.
Those who have not been reached by the preaching of the words of God also know what is good and bad because there is a law written in their hearts. For instance, even an ordinary man knows that acts such as murder and theft are evil, for his conscience dictates so. Thus, the people who sin apart from the law will be judged through the law written in their hearts. God will judge those who are being judged by their hearts because He is greater than our hearts, and knows all things (I Jn. 3:20).
God Almighty will judge those who lived and died before the emergence of the Church of Christ, and even those who are not reached by the Church's preaching of the gospel.
On the other hand, the people who live today have the responsibility to fulfill what God requires of them in order to be saved. They must "seek the law" because on the day of Judgment, people will be judged according to the gospel (Mal. 2:7; Rom. 2:16).