Of course, Solomon lived in the Old Testament dispensation and thus did not experience being “born again” or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for that was not possible before the Christ’s ascension and the birth of the church (see John 16:7). The terms born again and saved (in the sense of eternal salvation) are New Testament terms. That kind of language is not used of Old Testament saints. So, when we speak of Solomon’s being “saved,” we are simply referring to his justification before God and his presence in heaven today.
King Solomon was greatly used by God in many ways. He received wisdom and riches from God. He built a beautiful temple because God chose him for that, and God’s presence later dwelt there. Solomon’s dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8 is a humble, awe-filled occasion marked by thousands of sacrifices and a prayer overflowing with faith and praise. God used Solomon to write three books of the Bible: Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. God said concerning Solomon, “I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father” (1 Chronicles 28:6). Surely, these facts allow us to surmise that Solomon was saved and is in heaven today.
On the other hand, King Solomon also sinned greatly against the Lord (1 Kings 11:3–13). Sadly, he married pagan wives, built pagan altars for them, and even participated in pagan worship himself. The only reason God did not immediately take the kingdom from Solomon was that God wanted to keep His covenant with David (1 Kings 11:12). The record of Solomon’s sins, plus the dismal tone in Ecclesiastes, has led some to suggest that Solomon was not saved and is not in heaven today.
Some point to the fact that Solomon is not mentioned in the great hall of faith of Hebrews 11 as another clue that he was not saved. However, many other Old Testament characters are not mentioned there, either, and Hebrews 11 was never intended to be a comprehensive list of the redeemed.
Just as in the life of David, there were periods of disobedience in Solomon’s life that required confession and repentance. Do believers today ever sin? Of course they do. The actions of God’s people don’t always match up with what they profess. When believers stumble, they should confess their sins and receive God’s promised cleansing (1 John 1:9). We know that David did exactly that (Psalm 51). Did Solomon? Yes, we believe he did.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a dark study on a life lived apart from God. Solomon looks back over his wasted years and finds no joy in them, only futility, vanity, and “a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). But he had learned his lesson—albeit the hard way—and he wraps up the book with this advice: “Now all has been heard; / here is the conclusion of the matter: / Fear God and keep his commandments, / for this is the duty of all mankind. / For God will bring every deed into judgment, / including every hidden thing, / whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14). This surely sounds like a man who has returned to the Lord and is trusting in Him.
Of course, the ultimate answer to whether or not Solomon was saved rests with God, not with us. Salvation is in the hands of God and God alone because, as Scripture says, God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). But we believe that Solomon did trust in God and, in spite of his disobedience, was a son of God. His writings clearly speak of a man who had a personal relationship with God and knew firsthand the folly of living without God. We assume that, upon his death, Solomon went to paradise. Despite his failures and shortcomings, Solomon was saved, by grace through faith, just as we are today.