If recognizing Jesus as the son of God is necessary for eternal salvation and acceptance in to heaven, are there any scriptural references for the issue of people who might be mentally handicapped and unable to comprehend this fact?
@Joe89 Great question! How come you ask? Is there someone in your own life you are seeking to share Jesus with that is mentally handicapped?
My personal view on this topic is:
- share the Gospel as best as you can with those who are mentally handicapped and love them with Christ’s love
- pray for Jesus to cleanse them and fill them with His Spirit
- trust that God loves them
- trust that the Lord will do what is just and good and fair
Genesis 18:25 - Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It is possible that this verse from Corinthians applies when the person with the disability belongs to believing parents / family. The basic idea is that the presence of a believing parent sets the children apart in some way, though it does not guarantee salvation. So I think that even the presence of a believer in the person’s life could have a meaningful impact.
1 Cor 7:14 - For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
In some ways I believe this question is connected with how God will judge those who have never heard (if the person does not have the mental capacity to grasp what you are sharing). God sees the secrets of our hearts and will judge each one fairly according to their ability and opportunity.