Can only believing Christians be saved? I don't think so, I believe everybody, and I mean everybody, has a shot. Otherwise, God is a monster. A recent letter writer wrote: "Muslims believe they obtain heavenly life through noble actions." "Christians do not believe so""Christians believe that Jesus died for our sin sand whoever believes in him shall not be condemned."
The writer leaves us with a question s/he did not address and therefore did not answer: What about Muslims, and Jews and for that matter, people of all other faiths or people with no faith? Millions if not billions of them. Can they be saved and how? There is no unanimous Christian answer to this question. Some Christians say that only those who explicitly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior can be saved. I am a Christian and belong to the Catholic Church. We Catholics believe that everyone can be saved . That's one big reason I am a Catholic.
In a 1965 document of the Second Vatican Council, ("the Light of the World), the assembled Bishops and the Pope had this to say: "Those also can attain to salvation who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life."
Popes and bishops have reiterated this teaching many times since. On September 9, . Pope John Paul II said: Normally, it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious tradition and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize him or acknowledge him as their Savior. Who are we to say otherwise in light of the Gospel's message of universal salvation?
Truly good works are not possible without at least an implicit confession of belief in all that Jesus Christ did and taught whether the person doing them believes it or not. We need Christ to be saved. He does not need us to make it happen. Christ's grace is the cause of all good works but good works are the manifestation of Christ's presence in us.
This is indeed the "good news for all the nations which we celebrate at Christmas." Even those who wish us a "Happy Holiday" unwitting concur, since "holiday," after all, means "holy day." So Merry Christmas is just "an insider's" way of saying "Happy Holy Day."