Bible Q&A

Q. Can the mentally retarded be saved?


A. In the 9th chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus's disciples see a blind man and ask whether he or his parents had sinned to bring him to such a condition. Jesus says, "Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God might be manifested in him."

Naturally, one wonders about the salvation of the mentally incompetent. Let's remember that Jesus said, in another context, "With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."

God, who knows all things, will know at what time someone's heart is touched and turns to Him, but you or I may never know. We may know, but there is no guarantee of that. We only know, as Scripture promises, that "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

We can be sure that people with mental problems also existed in Jesus's day, and Jesus knew about them. And yet we know that Jesus did not heal everyone in Palestine. These things are hard to understand, but we continue to have hope and to trust that God has a good purpose in it.

I am reminded of an old story from the ancient church of the times of the Roman Empire. Laurence, a deacon, was commanded by Macrianus, a pagan official, to surrender up the treasures of the church within three days, because Macrianus was greedy. Laurence appeared to agree to Macrianus' demand.

In three days, Laurence ushered Macrianus into a chamber where, to the official's astonishment and dismay, there sat all the blind, lame, sick, and poor that the church was taking care of. "Here," said Laurence quietly, "are the treasures of the church."

Michael Huggins, Memphis, Tenn.

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