Salvation for the Nonbeliever


Salvation – Nonbeliever – Atheist


Cal Poulsen

Scripture Insights



In reviewing the material concerning salvation, I was unable to find any scripture indicating a second chance for salvation being given to the non-believer. This implies that there was in fact a first chance or opportunity and this is scriptural. If we turn our backs on God our hearts will be hardened. We then become blinded by the God of this world (Satan), and the truth of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) will be hidden from us.

The apostle Paul describes this for us.

2 Corinthians 4:3

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Corinthians 4:4

In whom the god of this world (Satan), hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Although the message that Paul preached was a clear presentation of salvation, he admitted that the gospel would be veiled, or obscure, to some. He explained that there are two types of people. Those who will receive eternal life and those who don’t believe.

It is evident that if a second chance were possible it could only come after the resurrection of the dead (Hebrews 9:27), but this is a resurrection of judgment.

Hebrews 9:27

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

The fact that all who have sinned separates us from God. Our relationship to God is made possible by the atoning sacrifice for our sins by the shed blood Christ Jesus. He died once for our sins becoming the mediator between us and God.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Sinning confirms our status as sinners, and sin cuts us off from our Holy God. Furthermore, sin leads to death (because it disqualifies us from living with God), regardless of how great or small each sin may seem. Sins are deadly, but sinners can be forgiven. There are no distinctions: we have all sinned; we all need a savior; Jesus Christ is the Savior; through faith we can receive his salvation.

The Scriptures make it clear that it is impossible for man to gain the approval of God and to attain His righteousness by doing good works. Isaiah wrote the following.

Isaiah 64:6

"All our righteous deeds are like filthy rags,"

No amount of good works can achieve salvation or an opportunity for it. It does not matter if you have all the good deeds in the world. None of these works count towards approval by God for salvation. The only way to God is by trusting in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Some confuse the simple matter of trusting in Christ with unscriptural appeals to "invite Christ into your heart" or "accept Christ as your Savior." Such appeals, while well-intentioned, are not the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). One is saved by trusting in the person and work of Jesus on the cross for us and in his resurrection–not by "inviting Christ into one’s heart." We must then proclaim that Jesus has been resurrected.

Romans 10:9

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:10

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Each person lives on earth and then dies only once. After that, comes judgment. All people will stand before God. Those who follow Christ have hope. Christians know that just as death and judgment are certain, so is their hope.

Hebrews 10:26

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

This is the second great warning against apostasy (Hebrews 6:4-6) is the first. For those who have received a full knowledge of the truth of the gospel and yet reject Christ, the consequences are severe. For those who learn the truth and then deliberately continue sinning, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. When people deliberately reject Christ’s offer of salvation, they reject God’s most precious gift. They have rejected the only sacrifice that could have saved them.

Romans 5:6

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

God’s plan, from the beginning, was to send his Son to die for us, at just the right time, referring to both the timing in history and the timing in God’s plan (Galatians 4:4). In the face of our helplessness, God was fully in control. The events in human history did not determine the plan of salvation; the plan of salvation was designed by God to happen at just the right time. We are saved only because God took the initiative and demonstrated his incredible grace and love by sending his own Son to take the punishment we deserved.

Hebrews 6:6

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

It is impossible for people who have professed to be Christians and have experienced all of the beautiful gifts God gives and then turn away from Christ to be restored again. This is because they are nailing the Son of God to the cross again by rejecting him. These people have shown contempt for Christ through their deliberate actions. It would be like personally crucifying Christ again.

Many have argued whether someone who turns away from Christ can be restored to Christ. Some point to this passage to prove that a backslider cannot be restored. But "backsliders" are not the subject here. This passage refers to people who walk with Christ for a while and then deliberately turn around and walk in the other direction, rejecting Christ. These people can never be restored because they will not want to be restored. They have chosen to harden their hearts against Christ. It is not impossible for God to forgive them; rather, it is impossible for them to be forgiven because they won’t repent of their sins.

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

While believers do not need to work for salvation, salvation ought to change their lives so that they naturally want to serve God, do good works, and advance the Body of Christ. Although a believer may not presently be receiving rewards and acclaim for their actions, God knows the efforts of love and ministry. God will not forget a believer’s hard work for him. One example of this hard work would be caring for other Christians spiritually and physically.

Galatians 6:10

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

What believers do for others is done for God (Romans 12:6-18). Good works or being good does not guarantee salvation, but salvation changes the lives of God’s people, leading them to perform good works.

Galatians 6:8

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

If we are not in the Spirit we are in the flesh causing judgment to come upon us. For there is no hope of everlasting life in the flesh no matter how good we are.

2 Corinthians 6:2

"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

God offers salvation to all people. Many people put off making a decision to receive God’s salvation, thinking that there will be a better time—but they could easily miss their opportunity altogether. Today is the day of salvation. There is no time like the present to receive God’s forgiveness.



Your questions and comments are always appreciated.

Scripture Insights

2015 – 2016



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