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Can Nonbelievers be Saved in the Resurrection?

Can nonbelievers be saved from their sins in the resurrection? Do these people have any hope after they die? If they don't receive Jesus in this life, can nonbelievers be saved in the resurrection of the dead?

This is one of those questions that touches us all personally. Most of us know nonbelievers as well as struggling believers. The vast majority of people are nonbelievers (Matthew 7.14). So then one of the most important issues in Christianity is whether nonbelievers have any hope in the future. Specifically, what happens to all the nonbelievers in the resurrection of the dead?

Often times we're taught as Christians that there's no hope for nonbelievers. We're told that Jesus loves us all very much, but we must make a choice. We're told that we must make the right choice and accept him, or we're doomed. We're told that if we reject him we're going to hell forever, and there's no hope for us.

After all, a sinner is a sinner. It doesn't matter how much a person has sinned, because any amount of sin defiles a person. No sinner is fit for heaven.

So if all nonbelievers are sinners, and they're all unforgiven, then one might believe that the outcome is the same for all of them. One might believe that it doesn't matter whether someone dies as an heroic veteran, or they die as a crook. If that person doesn't believe in Jesus, they're going to hell forever.

This "accept Jesus or else" view of salvation is the party line. The suggestion of something like a "second chance" is a nonstarter for many Christians. They see any future possibility of salvation as somehow diminishing Jesus' sacrifice. If Jesus died so you can repent for your sins now, then why would he forgive you later on?

To many of us something seems wrong with this mainstream view. Yes, we agree that all men are sinners, and none are deserving of eternal life. But is disbelief truly a rebellion against God? Does someone who has done many good deeds really deserve the same fate as an evil doer? Are a nonbeliever's deeds completely irrelevant in God's eyes?

As with many issues, this one can only be resolved in the scriptures. Many will thump their bible and say that it clearly says there's no hope for nonbelievers. However, the issue isn't as simple as they think it is. Further, if they are wrong, then much of Christianity has been tainted by a destructive heresy.

What's the reason for a resurrection of nonbelievers?

First, one should recognize the biblical truth of the resurrection of the dead. The bible says that everyone, including nonbelievers, will have a part in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:15). The bible also says that everyone, including nonbelievers, will be judged by their works (2nd Corinthians 5:10).

This leads to Revelation 20, which is the most important scripture on the resurrection of nonbelievers. These verses describe the future resurrection and judgment of nonbelievers as a key part of God's plan.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12-13, 15 KJV bible).

What's being described here is the end of the world, and the start of the eternity. At this time, all of the dead in death and hell will be raised up and judged by their works. This means that all the souls that are in these places will be evaluated, and those who aren't written in the book of life will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Without a doubt every nonbeliever will stand before their Creator as an individual.

The most obvious question about this passage, is whether the resurrection and judgment of nonbelievers will be a chance at salvation for them. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of resurrecting and judging them? If the outcome is always damnation for each and every nonbeliever, then why go through such a process? If being a nonbeliever by itself makes them unforgivable, then their deeds are irrelevant.

Yet even though many Christians are aware of these scriptures, they still declare that nonbelievers can't be saved. They say that the resurrection and judgment of nonbelievers is only for the purpose of condemning them. In other words, there's no real chance that any nonbelievers can be saved in the resurrection.

For many, the question remains whether any nonbelievers will be make it into the eternity. Some say no, because no one's good deeds can pay for their sins. However, doesn't God have the right to forgive anyone he wants, even if they haven't earned it?

Will there be a future age when nonbelievers can be forgiven?

One mistake that is often made on this issue is that being unforgiven is confused with being unforgivable. Many Christians assume that because the bible says nonbelievers are unforgiven, they're also unforgivable. They believe that the unforgiven state of nonbelievers means that they have no future hope of mercy.

On the other hand, there are many places in scripture that suggest a future time of forgiveness for nonbelievers. In one of these places, Jesus speaks of a certain sin that can never be forgiven. He says that men will be forgiven of all kinds of sin and blasphemy, except for this one. If this one sin is unforgivable, then other kinds of sins must be forgivable.

The bible says there is only one unforgivable sin, "Because of this, I say to you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy concerning the Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, not in this age nor in the coming one" (Matthew 12:31-32 LITV bible).

Here Jesus says that every type of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven to men. However, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. He then says something peculiar, which is that this sin won't be forgiven in the age to come either.

We all know that there is forgiveness for sin in this age, for those who repent and believe in Jesus. However, what does Jesus mean by forgiven in the "age to come"? If we consider Jesus' words, he seems to be saying that forgiveness of sin is possible in the age to come (except of course for those who have committed the unpardonable sin).

A lot of scholarly discussion about this verse centers on what Jesus means here by "age" [Greek: aeon]. Many have tried to say that Jesus is talking about an age other than the time of his return and the resurrection. However, every other time in scripture that Jesus speaks of a coming age, he is referring to the future time of his return, at the end of the world (see Matthew 13.40, Mark 10.30, Luke 20.34).

While this passage by itself is far from proving a second chance, it does suggest a future time of forgiveness. We know that when Jesus returns the dead will be resurrected, and judged for their deeds. If there is forgiveness in this future age, then it would apply to the masses of nonbelievers who will be in need of it.

Some nonbelievers will have a better resurrection than others.

One place that gives us some insight into the resurrection of nonbelievers is Luke 11.31-32, "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (Luke 11:31-32 KJV bible).

Here we have a lot of teaching to consider about the resurrection. First, Jesus refers to the Old Testament story of the the queen of Sheba. The Queen of Sheba was neither an Israelite or a Christian, yet she was inspired to travel a great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon (1st Kings 1.1-10). She was an unchristian pagan woman, yet she has a place of importance in the scripture.

Second, Jesus tells us about the Ninevites in the book of Jonah. This is a group of gentiles who repented at the teaching of the prophet Jonah. The Ninevites were neither Israelites or Christians, but they have a place of importance in scripture, partly because of their great repentance (Jonah 3.4-10).

Jesus says that all these gentiles will "resurrect" in the final judgment, and condemn his own generation. What's clear is that these people resurrect "with" or among the same people that crucify Jesus. They rise up with the generation that betrayed him, and condemn them as being wicked.

Here Jesus presents certain "nonbelievers" as having been more righteous than his own generation. None of these people mentioned here were Israelites, much less men of God. Yet, Jesus presents them as examples of righteousness. At the very least, Jesus draws a distinction between them and the depravity of his own generation.

If all nonbelievers are completely condemned, and have no chance of forgiveness, then why does Jesus present some as being superior to his own generation? Why would Jesus put any nonbeliever in a position to condemn his generation, if they will be sentenced to eternal damnation with the ones they are condemning?

It would seem terribly misleading to hold up some nonbelievers as examples to his generation, if they will be equally condemned with them. For some nonbelievers to be better off than the ones who crucified Jesus, they must in some way have a better place in the resurrection.

Lastly, there is a certain irony here that churches should take note of. Jesus' generation had great trust in their own righteousness and salvation. They believed that unlike other peoples, they were holy and blessed by God. Yet Jesus says that many of the people his generation considered unworthy of mercy, will be found more righteous than them on Judgment Day.

To better understand what will happen in the final resurrection, we should look at another description of it, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29 KJV bible).

This passage says that a great group of people will be resurrected from their graves. We need to consider who these people are. Are they believers and nonbelievers together, or just nonbelievers? If Jesus is only talking about nonbelievers here, then we know that some nonbelievers will resurrect into eternal life.

The usual assumption here is that Jesus is describing a resurrection of believers and nonbelievers. However, this is problematic. We need to consider who these people are that are being called out of their "graves".

In the gospels, when Jesus talks about the grave, he often uses it in connection with sin and death. Jesus uses the grave as a metaphor for sin and separation from God (Matthew 23.27). It takes on a deeper meaning as a place of spiritual death and decay (see Sleeping in the Dust).

Therefore it doesn't make sense to describe believers, as hearing Jesus' voice from within their graves. Believers already have eternal life (John 6.54), and aren't in spiritual graves. It's more consistent to describe nonbelievers as coming from their graves.

When we look at a similar verse, we see that Jesus describes those who believe as being already set free from death, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25 KJV bible).

Moving back to John 5.28-29, when we follow Jesus' language in these verses we see that he is describing a distant resurrection of nonbelievers. Nonbelievers will hear his voice and come out of Hades and death, as described in Revelation 20.13. Some nonbelievers will resurrect into retribution and punishment for their sins. However, those who have done good by comparison, will resurrect into life.

There will be nonbelievers in eternal Jerusalem.

To really show that there is a second chance for nonbelievers, we have to fast forward. We have to look past the resurrection and into the eternity. The bible gives us a picture of the eternity that includes many nonbelievers who have been saved.

"And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it [Jerusalem]: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it...And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:24,27 KJV bible).

The question this passage provokes in us, is who are these people called "the nations" that enter the city? These people have obviously been written in the book of life. Many would assume that they're Christians who've been saved by faith.

However, these people can't be Christians. Looking at the context of Revelation, we find that "the nations" refers to nonbelievers. The nations are the masses of people who don't have faith in Jesus.

The nations aren't followers of Christ, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Revelation 19:15 KJV bible).

Neither are God's people considered part of the nations, "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints..." (Revelation 11:18 KJV bible).

One of the reasons that the nations aren't believers, is that God promises believers authority over them. Therefore any person who's an overcomer in Christ won't be equal with the nations. Any believer will be separate and unique from the nations.

Jesus promises his people authority over the nations, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Revelation 2:26-27 KJV bible).

When we look at the last chapters of Revelation, we see that God's promise is eternal. His servants will remain unique and blessed above the nations. "...and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads...and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 22:2-5 KJV bible).

Revelation tells us that no evil person or sinner will enter the eternal city. Yet it also depicts a remnant of the nations, or nonbelievers, who will enter the city. This tells us that some nonbelievers will be saved in the resurrection described in Revelation 20. Some of them will be found written in the book of life, and have a place in the eternal Kingdom.

The last chapters of Revelation are often ignored and misunderstood. This is partly because they paint a picture that is different from the popularly held ideas about eternal heaven. Scripture doesn't depict Christians living together forever with Jesus in heaven. Rather Jesus and his servants will reign together over many kingdoms and nations that have been saved.

Unbelief isn't unforgivable, in the resurrection.

All the scriptures we've looked at so far tell us that nonbelievers can be saved in the future resurrection. So then why is the idea of total damnation for nonbelievers so popular? Many scholars believe this, and many Christians are compelled to believe this, even if it doesn't sound right to them.

Part of the reason is that many verses in the New Testament seem to support this view, "The one believing and being baptized will be saved. And the one not believing will be condemned" (Mark 16:16 LITV bible), "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18 KJV bible).

Taken alone, most people would conclude from these verses that nonbelievers can never be saved. However, there is a lot of context here to consider. What is the condemnation Jesus is referring to, and does it last forever?

John 3.19 helps explain the condemnation of unbelief, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19 KJV bible).

The world prefers darkness to light, and sin to righteousness. Because nonbelievers are part of the world, they share in its sinful and unclean nature. They're captive to the darkness of the world, and so their condemnation is part of the condemnation of the world. As described in Revelation 19.15, nonbelievers will be broken when Christ treads down the world (see also Saved from God's Wrath).

There is a season of wrath for the world, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV bible).

However being a nonbeliever isn't ultimately unforgiveable. Nonbelievers will be resurrected, and their good and evil deeds will be revealed. Out of them will come a clean remnant who will be the nations of the eternal age.

The truth of this hope doesn't negate the peril of sin. Nor does it diminish the sacrifice of Christ. There remains no other path of life and salvation besides Jesus. He will certainly deliver those he chooses, and also hold guilty those who have defamed him.

Comments: (25)
Topic: Salvation for Nonbelievers
The Bible is clear on the eternal hell in store for those who don't choose to accept God's pardon during their lifetimes. This is because while God is loving and merciful, He's also righteous and just. He isn't arbitrary so He can't manifest one of His character traits at the expense of any other one. Everything has to fit.
Since He holds everyone accountable for the choices of their life, He has to give everyone the opportunity to make an informed decision on whether to accept the pardon He purchased for them or not.
Hebrews 9:27, which says that Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment, tells us that this has to happen during our lifetimes. The opinion that the unsaved will get a 2nd chance at the Great White Throne is incorrect.
Romans 1:20 tells us that enough of God's presence is revealed through the Creation to leave men without excuse. Matt 24: 14 says that the gospel will be preached in all the world before the end comes, and Hebrews 9:27 says that after death we face judgment. These and other passages lead me to conclude that every man who has ever lived has been exposed to enough information about God's existence to make him responsible for his choices. Rev. 20:5 says that unbelievers who die will be brought back to life at the end of the millennium to face their judgment. This is explained in greater detail in Rev. 20:11-15.
BTW if we have a second chance, we could really live it up while on earth, being fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Knowing I can fix it the next time.(Sorry It don't work that way). Another thing, there would be no need for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Foks please read your Bible, come up with your own answer, and don't take the scrip outta contex to make it fit what you wanna believe. Luv ya all and may God Bless Rob
10th April 2014 6:30pm
Roderick M. Cruz
Hi Doug, I've been studying about this subject for quite a long time now about nonbelievers having a chance for salvation. It's good to know that we are on the same boat on this. Thanks and God bless your ministry.

You may want to also include the teaching of Jesus about the sheep and the goats. This one fits to the white throne judgement. The ten virgins are about the Christians, and the Talents are about the rewards of the wise virgins. YBIC, Roderick
12th April 2014 11:30pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Roderick, good to hear from you. The issue of nonbelievers having a chance in the resurrection is so important. There are few who understand that there will be a future resurrection of nonbelievers.

Matthew 25 and the sheep and the goats certainly fits right in. A lot of people think the sheep are believers and the goats are nonbelievers. However it clearly says that "the nations" are gathered before Jesus. This means that Jesus is separating the good nonbelievers from the evil nonbelievers, according to how they treated others. As you point out this is after the wise virgins have been received. God bless.
14th April 2014 9:36pm
Roderick M. Cruz
Hi Doug, Thank you for your comments, truly appreciated. What does it mean when the sheep say " when did we gave you food when you are hungry...". Are these sheep christians? If they are, are their good works done without this truth in mind that whatever you do to others you do unto me? Every true and genuine christian should have this understanding. So I guess the sheep that were asking the Lord Jesus were not christians, and the goats are the Atheists.
You may want to study the Olivet Discourse and the parables that followed after it and looked at it in a chronological sequence in the end time events. You may want to find there where the first resurrection (2nd Coming?) and 2nd resurrection (White Throne Judgement) fits in the parables.
1st May 2014 8:40pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Roderick, the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 should be understood as all nonbelievers. It says that the nations are gathered before Jesus and the word nations is used for heathen or nonbelievers. Jesus doesn't number his people among the nations, but as children of faith (Galatians 3).

I agree that the parables of Matthew 25 are in chronological order and this is how we know who the sheep and goats are. First, we have the ten virgins and also the profitable servants (25.1-30). This is Jesus' return when he receives his own servants. These people are being judged by their faithfulness to him and whether they put him first. The ones that didn't are rejected.

The wise virgins are the same as the ones in the first resurrection, just like Revelation 20.6 describes. Blessed and holy are the ones who are in the first resurrection. They're the true bride of Christ and will reign with him forever.

Then in Matthew 25.31 onward we have the sheep and the goats which is the second resurrection. This is the same as Revelation 20.11-15. The second resurrection is of all the people who weren't in the first, basically all the nonbelievers. They're atheists, agnostics, deists, fake believers, etc.

These people aren't being judged by whether or not they followed Jesus because that's not their place. Being a servant of Jesus is by grace, not will or works (Ephesians 2.8). So these nonbelievers are judged by how they treated other people. They are judged by their mercy for others, which is a lower standard than picking up ones cross and following Christ.

So everyone resurrects, believer and nonbeliever alike. Everyone is also judged by their works which are their fruits that come from within. Where more is given though more is expected. The ones from the first resurrection will reign with Jesus forever (Revelation 22.5), and the nations (the sheep of Matthew 25) enter the city (Revelation 21.26).
4th May 2014 3:44am
I do not understand a lot at all, so i am not going to give any scriptures of what i have read, but recently I lost my son. He never lived the life as a christian as i have read and do understand.
Then this lady started talking to me said that people like my son would have another chance to accept Jesus Christ as savior. My son believed in Jesus and had a love for people. This is tormenting me to think my son may go to hell or be in hell, can you help me.
29th June 2014 9:52am
Doug Buckley
Hi Diane, I am sorry about the loss of your son.

On the subject of the afterlife and nonbelievers you're going to get all kinds of opinions about what the bible says. I try to show people exactly what the bible says, without relying on people's opinions.

Let's just assume that your son was a nonbeliever, since I don't know and you seem unsure. Nonbelieving souls are unforgiven and unclean and go to a place called Hades. Hades is like an underworld and going there is not a good thing.

So if he is in Hades then is there hope for him? Yes, because the people in Hades won't be there forever. They're going to be in something called the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24.15, Daniel 12.2). When this happens nonbelievers will be resurrected and judged by there works (Revelation 20.12-15).

The question is can any of the nonbelievers in Hades be forgiven and make it into heaven. Despite what people say the bible says they CAN. They are the eternal "nations" described at the end of the book of Revelation, and places like Zechariah 14.16-20.

Bottom line is that assuming your son didn't really believe in Jesus (which is a hard thing to know) then he will have a chance to make it in the resurrection of the dead. Jesus only wants to get rid of the bad people who would cause trouble in the Kingdom and won't live under the reign of Jesus and the saints.

The article above ia about whether nonbelievers can be saved someday and it documents that what I'm saying is in the bible. I have some other writings about the second resurrection on this website that you might want to look at as well.
29th June 2014 11:58am
Thank you Doug Buckley for the information. I know my son believed in Jesus. He referred to him as the big man above. The question is if he did not ask Jesus forgiveness of his sin. My son was on drugs and did not live life as a christian.
He told me he would never say he was a christian until he knew he could live the life. He knew preachers and christians selling drugs etc. He did not never want to be a hipocrite, please help me to understand.
30th June 2014 12:06pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Diane, I can't possibly tell you whether your son's sins were forgiven or not, only that his soul continues on and will be in the resurrection.

Honestly, among "Christians", it's very hard to tell true believers from
nonbelievers. A struggling believer can behave like a nonbeliever. Also a nonbeliever can do a good job of sounding like they love Jesus.

Further its not our place to judge, only to discern what seems to be right. A believer will eventually bear fruit for Jesus. Nonbelievers generally serve themselves. Again, we can only discern believers from nonbelievers.
30th June 2014 11:10pm
Sounds like you're a follower of Arnold Murray and his son Dennis. Catholics believe the same thing, but a little cash takes care of that for them. Arnold is dead, and from all the damnable doctrines they teach I hope God over looked his teachings and he made it to Heaven. A person can call on the name of the Lord in any condition they may be in, and as long as their heart is in the right place they will be saved, even if they die seconds later. Thinking a person can be saved after death is unbiblical and a dangerous teaching.
26th May 2016 8:26pm
Doug Buckley
Carl, Actually I'm a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what he teaches, about the resurrection of the dead. I also listen to what Jesus teaches about nonbelievers in Luke 11.31, John 5.28 and Matthew 25, since so many choose to ignore what these verses are saying.
The whole idea of salvation has been taken out of context and spun into "go to church" or eternal hell and that's different from what Jesus teaches about eternal life. BTW, the Catholics concept of purgatory is something different as well.
27th May 2016 9:37am
I find this to be a fascinating topic. My biggest issue is these people have died in their sins. God cannot accept anyone with sin. I don't understand all this good and bad talk. There is NONE good. When God opens the books of their works and judges it would make no sense to say, some people were not as bad as others. Sin is SIN. The ONLY way anyone can get to the Father is by Jesus and Jesus alone. John 14:6. I guess my question is, will people who have died in their sins get a chance to accept Christ. I have read a lot of things suggesting God will weigh the peoples works at the Great White Throne Judgement and then decide. I don't understand that. No one can be good enough. What scriptures do you use to suggest people will have the chance to accept Christ. Because without HIM no one dwells with the Father.
24th June 2016 4:14pm
Doug Buckley
This is an interesting but also can be a confusing subject. I will try to explain myself as best I can, but I encourage everyone to read the article first.
What is salvation? It means safety and deliverance from the consequences of sin. What are the consequences of sin? Spiritual death, estrangement from God, destruction, and ultimately damnation. To be saved one must have their sins forgiven, by God. This is by grace, not works. We should all agree so far.

However this is where the problems come in, because people have been told over and over that Jesus died for their sins so they must accept him. The doctrine changes into "everyone makes a choice and its either accept Jesus or go to hell forever".
Thus rejecting Jesus becomes itself irrevocable, because nonbelievers made a choice. What this means is that being a nonbeliever equals eternal damnation. They had their chance and blew it, etc. This is their reasoning.

Now here is the main problem with this view. No one believes in Jesus because they confess Christ. Rather one confesses Christ because they believe. They believe him to be the light, and the Son of God who died for our sins. One must recognize that he is the Christ to the exclusion of everyone else.
Jesus says in John 3.16 "whoever believes upon him", not whoever "chooses" to believe upon him or "wills" to believe upon him. Its not will but grace. Its not choice but calling. There isn't a single verse that says Jesus was crucified so that everyone makes a choice to believe or not. It's just not there. No one can choose to be set free from the power of sin.

So then what happens to nonbelievers? Jesus bought the world and all the broken lives in it, and they are his to do with as he sees fit. We know that they will eventually be in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24.15), and pass before the judgement seat of Christ. They're not judged by altar call choices but by works (Matthew 25.32-40).

We know that where more is given more is expected. Some nonbelievers are accountable for less and others more "If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father" (John 15:24 ASV bible).
26th June 2016 2:15am
Dear Doug,
Thanks for the article. I'm still doing further studies into it. But one question though, will be possible for a Christian to live in sin and perish during judgement and instead for a non believer to be saved because of his good works though during their lifetime that Christian believed in Jesus and the non believer didn't?
14th September 2016 12:03pm
Dear Doug,
Thanks for the article. I'm still doing further studies into it. But one question though, will be possible for a Christian to live in sin and perish during judgement and instead for a non believer to be saved because of his good works though during their lifetime that Christian believed in Jesus and the non believer didn't?
14th September 2016 12:04pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Deborah, thank you for your question. The answer to the first part of your question is, imo, yes. Someone who for whatever reason "lives in sin" really doesn't have faith, and is in danger of eternal damnation.

Now I think you said this well, but just to be clear, a nonbeliever can't be saved "by" their works. But they can someday be spared by the grace of God, and so their lives do matter. But no person can live in a way that is right with God. We all have the god of self problem and right there fail the first commandment.

So all people who aren't in Christ, aka nonbelievers, are spiritually dead and not sons of God. But they will be resurrected from the destruction of sin, some to life but others eternal damnation (John 5.29).
16th September 2016 6:59am
So are you saying that the people who are living in the 1000 year reign are the ones that Gods saves out of the second resurrection?
7th October 2016 8:55pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Karen, no the second resurrection takes place after the thousand years (Revelation 20). All people who are dead spiritually, meaning all those who have ever lived who didn't have faith will be in the second resurrection. Only God knows which way each person will go.
9th October 2016 6:44am
Paul Sims

Sir, I stumbled across your website looking for sermon material for my flock. Boy, do you need to go back to your knees or prostrate yourself before Christ before you spew anymore heresy out here!! Even Samuel, condemned the King of Israel Saul, for using the witch of En-dor, for calling his spirit from the rest of death to consult about the war with the Philistines. Too much Scripture to debate here but read some if not all of 1st Samuel 28 paying attention to what happens to sinners! Saul was a chosen vessel by the people of Israel ordained of Father God. You apparently are a Minister ordained by some denomination, so pleas rethink what you are preaching! YOU CAN NOT STRADDLE A BARBED WIRE FENCE!! YOU WILL GET STUCK!!!
25th August 2017 1:14pm
paul sims,

understand God's sovereignty in all things and in what character and very nature He exercises it, even in His great plan of salvation for humanity.

The parable of the Owner of the Vineyard is the principle about how He exercised His sovereignty. Grace, Mercy, and Justice is all at work when He dealt the matter about who will take part and how everyone will be compensated.

Jesus Christ is the one seated on the White Throne, every knee (believers and non-believers) will bow before Him and will acknowledge Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. Some might repent because of their admittance of their sins and others might not because of their true blue wickedness and resentfulness, but it is still up to Jesus Christ if He will have mercy to whom He will have mercy.

We don't have the right to accuse Jesus Christ of being unfair, like the workers who worked the whole day, if He is just exercising His Sovereignty and very character of being Gracious, Merciful, and Just.

Judgement does not result only to condemnation or damnation it results also to commendation and rewards. Judging in a certain contest is not only about who looses, it is also about who wins.

In the Old Testament, there are so many accounts of how God exercised His sovereignty specially in inflicting punishment due to disobedience but there are several accounts that He done away with it not because He is inconsistent or He made a mistake but because grace and mercy over ruled His justice.

Salvation in the First Resurrection is 100% sure. In the second resurrection its 50-50. So yes, we still and all the more we need to preach the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ to the non-believers.
22nd October 2017 10:44pm
Diane and all, I feel your pain as I just lost my 29yo son on 9Feb. Everyone said he had a good heart. He was raised in the church and was saved as a young child. In recent times he has rejected the faith. Although, I don’t know for sure, I believe he was hurt in some was as a young adult. I have struggled with my belief that God would not give him a chance and have been searching. How can I have no pain in the afterlife knowing my son is damned. This dialog gives me hope. There are times in the Bible where the rules change based on the era. Before Christ, there was the law and no salvation by grace. When Christ was on the earth, he had authority to forgive on the spot. Now we are in the year of the Lords favor when the Holy Spirit embodies us. God isn’t arbitrary but the rules change based on the era or time we are in. Doesn’t stand to reason that the rules may change at the new era of resurrection, 1,000 reign etc.
23rd February 2018 11:29am
Hi Doug... I read both of your articles "Can Nonbelievers Be Saved in The Resurrection" and "Faith or Works: Do we Need to Bear Fruit in Christ" . I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how they fit together. As you've explained your take on the resurrection and how there will be a second chance for the sheep that are "non-believers" , to me, it conflicts with the ones mentioned in the "Faith or Works: Do we Need to Bear Fruit in Christ" article ("Faith is what connects us to the true vine, Jesus Christ. It is through our connection with him that we are able to bring forth righteous fruits, or works, unto God. God then prunes the branches that are fruitful, which strengthens them and allows them to bring forth even more fruit. The unfruitful branches are REMOVED from the vine and LEFT TO WITHER.")... Can you please explain what's going on here to me? Are you saying that the sheep that are good people will be left to wither... Not being granted eternal life and a second chance? It's driving me nuts trying to figure it out (I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and REALLY need to know the answer!)... Thanks! :)
18th July 2018 6:52pm
Doug Buckley
Hi Mike, thanks for the interest. Sorry for the late reply.

The branches as described in John 15.5 are believers. Believers are servants and vessels of the Spirit. So a branch the is cut off is an apostate. An apostate can never ever be the bride of Christ or reign with him.

So what does Jesus mean that they will be cast into the fire? It could mean eternal damnation, but maybe not. The end of the age will be baptized with fire and the elect will pass through it unscathed spiritually. So every reference to fire isn't necessarily the Lake of Fire. So then they would be in the second resurrection.
Bottom line is that where more is given by grace more is expected. We know that in 2nd Peter 2.20-21 its better to have never known than to have known and turned away. A lot of this has to do with putting ourselves first and serving our own desires which comes naturally, vs giving up ourselves. Every believer will have to reconcile this at some point.
29th August 2018 4:08pm
Eric Shawn Savage
doug buckley thank you for this article I'm so very worried for my only child Eric 2 days before he took his own precious life in the most painful horrific way he said " I don't believe in Jesus I just believe in God I'm like a Jewish person" he was taught to be an atheist by his "friends" then his first real love a Jewish girl ripped his heart out & he converted to Judaism to get her back please help I don't know if he made it or will make it so I'm praying for Eric to be brought back to life please help Eric was abused every day by his dad bullied every day in school then this girl broke his heart Eric is beautiful & intelligent yet he was treated like garbage by many. I love my lovable son thank you from Eric's mom lisa savage
11th September 2018 3:26am
Doug Buckley
Hi Lisa Savage, just reading your comment, and it sounds like a very sad thing. Yes many people are treated badly and fight hard struggles in life. Jesus says blessed are those who mourn and blessed are the humble and merciful. The merciful will have mercy.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the issue of salvation and "accepting Jesus". I try to explain this in some of these articles. All people are resurrected in the age to come, and suicide is not the unpardonable sin. There really aren't any guarantees about anything, for any of us, but God is merciful.

His his plan is to get rid of the bad apples and create an eternal Kingdom where the righteous reign (see Revelation 21-22). I will keep you both in my prayers.
17th September 2018 4:38pm
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