Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What About Those that Never Heard of Jesus Christ?

Today while teaching the youth church I was asked what about the people that never heard the Gospel. I thought that this was much too important a question to answer off the cuff so this is my response to their question.

Understanding Grace.

Whenever we talk about the love of Christ, salvation through Christ alone, we are accosted with this very question. What about those people that have never heard of Christ? For most Christians this is a very difficult question to reply to. It disarms us in our ignorance, and insinuates that God the creator of the universe is unjust for not reaching the rest of the world, and unfair for punishing some that have not accepted the offer of salvation through Christ, while giving no way for them to accept the offer of salvation.
What they are really saying is "God is not fair when He sends innocent people to hell for not knowing Christ". However, fairness is not what we really want, because if we wanted fairness then all of us should be punished with eternal death because that is what we fairly deserve. The truth is, there are no innocent people. The Bible teaches that we are all imperfect, selfish, weak, sinful, rebellious, righteously bankrupt and spiritually unclean. We are all dead in our sins and deserving of God's wrath
(Romans 3:9-20 Ephesians 2:1-10) Suppose you had the resources to save five starving people. However, there are 15 starving people in 15 different places throughout the world that need saving. More than anything else it is your desire that not one of these people should perish, but you can only save five not one person for one second longer no matter what you do.  If you try to spread your resources that was designed for five people throughout the 15 then all 15 of the people would die a much more painful starvation death. No other combination other than to save the five would work. Now, suppose you have never met these people, you know nothing about them, not age, not sex, not race, or even religious affiliation. How would you select the five that you would eventually save?
Once again same scenario, this time you are one of the 15 starving people. You know that your death from starvation is emanate.  There are 14 other people that are starving just like you, however, you have never met any of the other 14 that remain, and know nothing about them, not their age, not their sex, not their race,  not even their religious affiliation. Then you learn that someone whom you have never met has given you and four others all the resources you need to live.
My question is do you despise the gift because the other 10 where not give such a gift? Do you hate the giver of the gift? Or do you love him and show your gratitude for him? Do you question why he did not save the other ten and reject the gift? Or are you thankful for a gift which you have in no way earned at all?
I have a third scenario, suppose there was someone whom you have never met that could meet the needs of all 14 of the starving people plus you ( the 15th)  and his only requirement for each of you was to walk ten miles to a nearby village and ask him for his help. Now he has perfect power to comfortably drive his jeep to your village but he requires you to come to him. Now to make matters worst you knew that only five of the people that he could save would ever take the time to walk the ten miles, so the other ten would die. Whom do you blame for their death? The man with the ability to save, or the people who refused to be saved? 
There are some reading this that will say I would give my life for someone I have never met. But in truth there is not greater gift than to give one’s life for his brother man. Tell me are you willing to die for someone you have never met?  The fact is the giver of the gift could have just as easily given it to anyone else and you would have been the one that died. Are you willing to bank on someone else dying for you whom they have never met? How then should you be toward the one that gave you that gift?

God’s Grace for Our Salvation
The Bible teaches that we all deserve death because of sin, in fact death, sickness and disease is proof that we are all guilty of sin, by both what we have done, and what has been imputed to us through Adam.
Romans 5:12  “Therefore, just as through one  (Adam) man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”
Furthermore the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) so than by right every one of us deserve to die, every one of us are born in sin, and continually sin. But Grace is God’s desire to save some. Now here the part that may cause a problem, if some are saved that means most are not. The Bible make this statement clear, so as not to mistaken it;
Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to lfie, few are those who find it.” 
Matthew 22:14 “ For many are called but few are chosen” 
Romans 9:27 "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved”
Furthermore we are taught that nothing we can do can earn us salvation, it is a free gift of God’s Grace. God saves whom he chooses (Romans 8:18), and has mercy on whom He has decides to have mercy on. (Remember the story of the 15 starving children?)  (Romans 9:15). So then, when I come to the realization that of all the people of the earth most who will die and spend forever burning in agony, God chose me  from the masses not to die, but to give eternal life, That He the God of creation looked apron me and decided life. Not because I had someone how earned it (Ephesian 2:9) But that salvation was a free gift

Those Who are Ignorant of Him
Here’s the biggest shock to most people even Christians get this wrong, and that is that all people are accountable to God for failing to accept the gospel. Here is way, although many people do not know the full revelation of the gospel, no one is totally ignorant of God.  The Bible teaches us in
Romans 1:20 'For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.'
The created universe speaks so clearly of a Creator (God). That when we look at mountains, the skies, the heavens sun and stars, it would be foolish to say there is no God. The Bible tells us that they give testimony of God. (Psalm 19:1)  So that anyone that sees a tree, a mountain, the sky and do not perceive there is a God, then they are in denial. This is perfectly in opposition to those that say out of nothing all, everything that is came into existence. and the thing which came form nothing, develop a moral compass, distinguishing right from wrong.
In other words, no man can stand before God and claim that God turned away because God never provided any understanding of, not only His existence, but also many details of His power and works among men.
Our Moral Compass is Testimony of God
Since no scientific equation can justify morality, and each and every man has a moral pulse, knowing what is right and wrong without being taught, we naturally live by the moral law which lives within us. Now because we live by a moral law, (all of society sees murder and rape of children as wrong) we live in testimony of a moral law giver (God) The Apostle Paul teaches that this moral law is written in our heart and bears witness of God.
Romans 2:14-15 (ESV)           For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. 

Acts 17:24-27 (ESV)        The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth,  having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,  that they should seek God,  and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.  Yet he is actually not far from each one of us

The above passage tell us that God has pre-determined the time and location and of every man’s existence, so that they may in seeing nature, know God.  And by their heart what is in their heart seek after him.  In fact scripture tells us that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) And God rewards us by reveling himself to us, and even providing the gospel in places where it would not have been so that in those that seek Him are rewarded by the knowledge of Him.

It is therefore not an issue of if they have ever heard of God, but that they have rejected what they already know of God, what they see in nature, and have rejected what they know in their heart. It is the rejection of the knowledge of God that condemns an individual, not the failure to hear the gospel. Hearing the gospel has the responsibility of converting the harden heart of man and preparing the individual for salvation
Psalm 19:7 (KJV) The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

So then it is not the rejection of the gospel that condemns but the accepting of Jesus Christ and the gospel that saves! So then we understand that there is no salvation without the hearing of the gospel.
You can then ask “What about those that are said to have had Jesus come to them in a dream?” Unlike many others I think it is possible for them to see Jesus in a dream, The Bible teaches that in these day “God will pour out His spirit on ALL Flesh, and  your sons and daughters will prophesy, and young men will see vision and old men will dream dreams” (Act 2:17)
However, seeing visions and dreaming dreams do not bring about salvation. Jesus reveling himself in a vision does not in itself provide salvation.  It only makes clear to the seeker that Jesus is real. The gospel must still be preached in order for someone to be saved.
Romans 10:14 ask the question “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
When we assume that those that never heard the gospel are granted mercy from God we negate the need to evangelize (preach the Gospel). Moreover if this was so it would just make sense that we should disobey Jesus, and never preach the gospel that way we make sure that no one ever rejects the gospel, and because they do not reject the gospel they would be saved. However Jesus requires us to evangelize so that the gospel may be heard (Mark 16:15) and on the strength of that alone, we have a God that has provided provisions for everyone to receive the gospel.

In His service