How Can He Be Saved?

The chorus of the song “Christmas” from the rock opera Tommy by The Who asks the perceptive question:

    And Tommy doesn’t know what day it is.
    He doesn’t know who Jesus was or what praying is.
    How can he be saved,
    From the eternal grave?

Tommy is a boy who became deaf, dumb, and blind through an early childhood psychological trauma. This question is also asked about infants and those who never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

This is certainly a dilemma if man must do something to obtain eternal life. Fortunately, that’s not the case:

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.
                                                        -- Romans 9:15-18 (NRSV)

Of course, the meaning of this passage is as hotly contested as the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Some see this passage as referring to service and not salvation; some nevertheless hold that God’s sovereign choices in election are based upon His foreknowledge of some intrinsic quality of man. Yet neither of these fit the context of this passage nor the entire chapter.

It’s time to rehost the studies in Romans and Ephesians written by my friend, Mike Baer.
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