What if they never heard the truth?
What a great question!
What about all those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Or for that matter, what about children who die at birth?
What about someone who is severely mentally impaired from birth and can't even communicate?
What is their standing before God?
Well, for starters, we know God is a God of perfect love AND of perfect justice.The scriptures tell us that God only holds us responsible for what we know:
John 15:22 (New International Version)
22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
God also tells us that it is apparent from what has been made that He exists:
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
So that tells us a couple things.
Firstly, you don't have to worry about the 2 year old baby who dies.
God is perfectly just and we don't have to worry that he is going to be unjust in any way.
In addition, if you are reading this, you are without excuse.
The reality of God is completely apparent to you.
You need to make a decision about Christ.
The truth is that if people are truly reaching out for God, then God will find a way to reach them.
In some of the least Christian areas of the world, it has almost become commonplace for Christ to appear in dreams and visions to those who are truly seeking him.
Here are some stories from some Muslims who have come to Christ in extraordinary ways:
Muslims Tell ... "Why I chose Jesus"
I had a Dream...
For someone who has not had extended exposure to Muslim-background believers in Christ, probably the most striking surprise is the powerful role that dreams and visions have played in drawing people to Jesus. Though dreams may play an insignificant role in the conversion decisions of most Westerners, over one-fourth of those surveyed state quite emphatically that dreams and visions were key in drawing them to Christ and sustaining them through difficult times. Rick Love, International Director of Frontiers, has recognized the pattern as well. He writes that, "Just as God used a vision to convert Paul, in like manner He reveals Himself to Muslims through dreams and visions. Just as God prepared Cornelius to hear the Gospel through a vision, so God is preparing a multitude of Muslims to respond to His good news."
One believer from Guinea recounts the dream of a figure whom he later believed to be Christ. The figure was in a white robe, calling the man to come to Him. In a related dream, he recalls that the same figure's arms were extended, beckoning him. Dreams of this type have become recognized as a pattern of work among Muslims. Though there are variations, Christ appearing in a white robe is a recurring image among those who have had dreams and visions. Similarly, a Muslim Malay woman was drawn by a vision she had of her Christian parents who had died. She saw them rejoicing with others in heaven. Jesus, appearing in a white robe, said, "If you want to come to me, just come." Feeling that she had tried her entire life to reach God without success, she now saw God initiating the effort to reach her through Jesus.
A convert from the Middle East who had been afflicted with severe headaches was lying on his bed after having prayed for his sick son. A man with a beautiful, peaceful face appeared. Dressed in white, the figure walked to the head of the man's bed and touched him three times on the head. The next morning his headaches were gone. His son, too, was fully healed. Understandably, he now recounts with confidence, "I believe in prayer in the name of the Christ."
The great majority of dreams seem to fall into one of two broad categories. The first could be considered the preparatory dream. Like Christ appearing in a white robe, the vision confirms thoughts or conversations one has been having about Christ or the Christian faith. The second could be called the empowering dream. Here the dream or vision commonly gives the believer strength in the face of persecution. Short of persecution, it may embolden believers, strengthening the nature of their witness.
One Sunni woman from the Arabian Peninsula had a figure appear to her in a dream, telling her to visit a Christian woman she knew. The figure, who she was later convinced was Christ, told her this woman would teach her.
In a fascinating twist on God's use of dreams and sleep, one Algerian recounted how she heard her sleeping Muslim grandmother say, "Jesus is not dead. I want to tell you He is here."
A West African man recounts a succinct, yet powerful vision he had prior to conversion. He saw a devout Muslim in hell and a poor Christian who couldn't afford to give alms in heaven. A voice explained to him that the difference was belief in Jesus.
A North African believer found the needed strength to face his imprisonment from a dream he had while imprisoned for his faith. In it, he saw thousands of believers pouring through the streets of his city, openly proclaiming their faith in his restricted country. While in prison, he was tortured, suspended upside-down naked for hours, beaten with electrified rods and repeatedly threatened with execution. His vision of a day when people of his country would openly proclaim their faith in the streets gave him great strength to persevere through this most difficult time.
Though not strictly a dream or a vision, a number of Muslim-background believers have had a significant supernatural encounter that was instrumental in drawing them to Jesus. One Egyptian Muslim was reading the Injil (Gospel), when he came to Luke 3, where the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. God said, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." As he read those words, a stormy wind broke into his room. A voice spoke to him saying, "I am Jesus Christ, whom you hate. I am the Lord whom you are looking for." He recalls that he "wept and wept, accepting Jesus from that time."
Whatever personal perspective one has on dreams and visions and the Christian walk of faith, it is difficult to consider engaging in ministry to Muslims without a recognition of and an openness for God to continue drawing people to Himself through what may be viewed as unconventional means.