What about People who have never heard the Gospel?
There is a lot behind this question. Questions that concerning difficulties such as the fairness of God, the suffering of hell, the numerous conflicting religions and the effects of sin on “good” people. Often this question is a smoke screen to divert attention off the individual and toward vague generalities. This is hardly exhaustive but it is intended to open up a dialogue.
OCEAN FRONT PROPERTY
As the scenario goes, “What about the guy on the deserted island who has never heard the name of Jesus, will he go to hell? Will God punish him because he never got the opportunity to know this truth or read a Bible? It’s not fair!” (Well if you are reading this and you are not a believer let me tell you as kindly as I can. You are not that guy and you do have the opportunity to know the name of Jesus) I think that this is a very fair question. I also believe that the key lies in the person of God, his character, who he has revealed himself to be.
God has been reaching out to us prior to creation. As we understand who God is we will see that it is his express desire to know us in a personal way. In fact we see that creation is one of the ways that he gets our attention, but we suppress the truth. It is difficult to look up at our world, see the Grand Canyon, the Ocean, the majesty of the night sky, the creativity of the animal world, such are amazing wonders that could never happen by chance and time. What do chance and time give you? A mess. So how could we think something could come from nothing, or that (Rm 1:18-32).
DIFFERENT PATHS SAME DESTINATION?
The Bible also tells us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross and his ensuing resurrection, seen by hundreds of people. We can read in John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 that it is only in Christ that we can be saved. So where does that leave other religions or cults such as the Ancient Mayans, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims or Mormons? Do they have any chance? Well according to scripture not without faith in the work of Jesus Christ. Does this mean that God is hateful? Hardly, he has taken many steps to reach out to those who are seeking for truth.
“26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. “Acts 17:26-27 (NIV)
One such person is the Ethiopian Eunuch official. He was reading a scroll of Isaiah and God sent Philip to tell him about Christ. (Acts 8:26-40) There is also the account of a Roman Commander named Cornelius-a devoutly religious man who was seeking after God (Acts 10:1-48). God sent Peter to him to tell him about Jesus and the plan of salvation.
THE BIG IDEA
I hope that you can understand the point that the Bible presents. If you are looking for God, he will reveal himself to you in some manner. Just ask him, it’s what he does. God wants to be found. Are YOU looking? If you have found him, are you lighting the way for others?
Keep the Faith and Give it Away
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE WORD
18 The LORD alone is God! He created the heavens and made a world where people can live, instead of creating an empty desert. The LORD alone is God; there are no others.
19 The LORD did not speak in a dark secret place or command Jacob’s descendants to search for him in vain. The LORD speaks the truth, and this is what he says
20 to every survivor from every nation: “Gather around me! Learn how senseless it is to worship wooden idols or pray to helpless gods. 21 “Why don’t you get together and meet me in court? Didn’t I tell you long ago what would happen? I am the only God! There are no others. I bring about justice, and have the power to save. 22 “I invite the whole world to turn to me and be saved. I alone am God! No others are real.
Isaiah 45:18-22 (CEV)