What does the Scripture teach about the eternal spiritual condition of those who have not heard the gospel?
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” – John 3:16-18, 36
Scripture teaches clearly that there are those who perish and those who do not. Notice that it is those who believe in Christ – not simply those who, through their encounter with creation and their own innate moral judgment, believe in a righteous Creator – who receive eternal life. The word ‘through’ speaks of agency – it is by means of Jesus Christ that a person gains eternal life.
This would be, for example, the Japanese way of expressing the viewpoint that all religions will have a good outcome. But Jesus Christ Himself said —
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
In other words, Jesus Christ is the only agency of salvation.
Jesus assures us that people will be judged because they have not believed on the name. Peter is even more explicit in telling us that there is no salvation in any other name given among people. Surely it is no accident that the name is so prominent in the Bible, especially in teaching on saving faith.
Paul also speaks to the issue —
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” – Romans 10:13-15