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I am so sorry to learn of your friend’s cancer.  That sorrow is increased by the knowledge that your friend does not believe on the Lord.  How tragic that he is facing a lost eternity without Christ as his savior.  I am thankful, though, that he has Christian friends, including yourself, that are praying for him.  As long as your friend is alive and cognizant, the Lord can still reach his heart and bring him to salvation.

You asked two questions; so let’s look at them separately.  Can God show mercy and save him even if he doesn’t believe in Him?  The short answer to that question is: NO.  No one can be saved through the faith of another.  Let’s consider the words of John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  These verses tell us the one way we can be saved and three ways that will not save us.  If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, we are saved and become the sons, or children, of God.  What a gracious offer the Lord has made to us all: if we will put our faith in the Lord Jesus, He will save us!  Next, we see three things that will not save us.  We are not born of blood, which means we do not inherit our salvation from our Christian parents.  We are not born of the will of the flesh, which means we cannot save ourselves.  And, we are not born of the will of man, which means others cannot save us.  We can only be saved through our personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Apostle Paul agonized over the unbelief of the nation of Israel.  Paul wrote in Romans 9:1-3, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”  Paul yearned so much for the salvation of these people that he was willing to give up his salvation if only they would believe in the Lord.  Of course, one cannot trade his salvation for the salvation of another, but Paul was expressing how greatly he desired for them to be saved.  I can see that you have a great desire for the salvation of your friend, but that will only come if he accepts the Lord Jesus as his savior.

Your second question was, “What can one do to help him or maybe preach to him the Word of God?”  While Paul could not save Israel by giving up his salvation, he did pray for those people as we read in Romans 10:1,”Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”  This is something you and your Christian friends can do for your unsaved friend.  You can all continue to pray for him.  Perhaps you could arrange times where a group of you get together and pray together for your friend’s salvation.  There is much power in prayer, and there is even greater power in unified prayer.  Remember, the Lord’s desire is that your friend would be saved.  We read in 1 Timothy 2:4that the Lord, “…will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  So, continue to pray for the salvation of your friend.  James 5:16tells us that, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 

I’m sure that since your friend has a lot of Christian friends, that he has probably heard the Gospel many times.  I encourage you to continue to share the Gospel with him when you see him.  Ask the Lord to open up opportunities for you and others to speak to him about his need of the Lord Jesus.  Don’t give up.  As long as he is still here, the Lord is still able to open his heart to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.  (130.1)