31 Question 2

Many people are concerned about this issue.  It’s a tough question, but I’m sure we can find the answer in God’s Word.  It is hard to think about people in areas where the Gospel is not available.  In some countries, it is illegal to preach about Jesus Christ.  How thankful we Americans should be that we are free to share the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.  We need to take advantage of that freedom and give the Gospel whenever the Lord provides an opportunity.

I’d like to consider two facts.  First, all people are sinners, and as such all deserve Hell.  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  That means every one of us…no exceptions.   Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”  To everyone that sins, the Bible pronounces the sentence of death.  Ezekiel 18:20 says plainly, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

The second fact I want to consider is that “God is love” as we read in 1 John 4:8.  How can we be sure that God loves us?  Of course we know that because the Bible tells us, but the Bible also tells us in 1 John 4:9 that, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”  We also know that God loves us because He showed His love by sending His only begotten son, Jesus, into the world to die for our sins.  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Even though we all have sinned and deserve death; the Lord loves each one of us.  He showed that love by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for us.  He doesn’t want anyone to perish, so He has extended His grace to everyone.  The Lord is never happy when someone dies in their sins and passes into a lost eternity.  Ezekiel 33:11 says, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”

Now, let’s put those two facts together to answer your question.  Realizing the Lord wants to save everyone, what will He do with those who have never heard the Gospel, or don’t have access to a Bible?  The Lord does evidence His existence in His creation.  Romans 1:20 says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”  This means that God is seen in His creation.  Now let’s read Ecclesiastes 3:11 from the NIV translation.  It says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  There is a sense of eternity inside each one of us; a realization that life does not end with our death.  Because we can see the existence of God in His creation, Romans 1:20 also tells us that we are without excuse.  No one can claim ignorance when they stand before the Lord.

What if someone acknowledges that God exists?  Is that enough for him to be saved?  Acknowledging God is the proper beginning, but it is not salvation.  We read in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”  So, it is commendable and a good beginning to realize there is one God, but even the demons know that and they tremble before Him.  We need more than just the acknowledgement of God.  Scripture teaches us that there is only one way to Heaven.  The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  That’s pretty emphatic, isn’t it?  No man can come to God the Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Galatians 3:22 says, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

So, we are all guilty and deserve death.  The Lord doesn’t want anyone to perish; He wants us all to be saved.  In order to be saved, we have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no way around that.  In Acts, chapter 10, we have an incredible account of a man that loved God, but didn’t know about the Lord Jesus.  Let’s read Acts 10:1-6, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”  This man realized the existence of God.  He prayed to Him and sacrificed to Him, but he still wasn’t saved.  He didn’t know about Christ.  The Lord honored his desire to know God and arranged for the Apostle Peter to come to him and tell him the way of salvation.  Read Acts 10:34-48 and see how this man, and his family were saved after hearing the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s been said that a seeking savior and a seeking sinner will soon meet.  The story of Cornelius shows that that is true.  If someone truly wants to know the Lord, the Lord will make sure they hear the Gospel so they can be saved from Hell.  How faithful is the God that wants all to be saved.

May we all realize our responsibility to share the Gospel with all we meet.  I have seen people worry about people on the other side of the world, but they won’t even go to the other side of the street to tell someone about the Lord Jesus.  Let’s all obey the words of 2 Timothy 4:5 and, “…do the work of an evangelist.”  (31.2)