Thank you, N
Behind your question I hear you struggling with another hard question every theologian wrestles with as one time or another. That question is called the “Crux Theologorum,” the “Crux of the Theology.” In other words, “Why are some saved and not others?” The answer to your hard question is ironically quite simple. The answer is: We don’t know. We are not give the answer in Holy Scripture.
It seems like this answer is a cop-out but it is not. There are just some questions where there is no answer this side of eternity. If we were to attempt an answer (which many do) we would be overstepping and trying to look into the hidden things of God. A very dangerous thing, indeed.
The way we are to operate is according to the revealed Word of God, nothing more, nothing less. If the Word of God speaks clearly and decisively, we do the same. When the Word of God is silent concerning something, we are to remain silent, too. As soon as we begin to answer a question that God gives us no answer to we become like Adam and Eve who determined what was good, right and salutary apart from God’s revelation.
So what about those who have not heard the Word of God, are they damned? Within your question is your answer. It might not be what you want to hear, but this is what God’s Word says. One is “saved by grace through faith, not by works” (Eph.2) “Faith comes by hearing” (Rom. 10). There is no salvation apart from Christ and Him crucified (John 14). The Spirit blows when and where He pleases (John 3). If the Holy Spirit preaches His Word to them and they believe and are baptized they will be saved, but if they do not believe they will be condemned (Mark 16).
Hope this helps.
Rev. Dustin L. Anderson, Pastor
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Carlinville, IL