Archive for June 19th, 2010|Daily archive page

If Jesus is the only way to God what about those who have never heard of him?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on June 19, 2010 at 7:58 am

There are many views about those who have never heard the gospel and their disposition in eternity.  It has been my experience we can to take a lesser view of God’s providence and sovereignty especially in this issue. We have discussed the agnostic response to this question and quite frankly is legitimate and proper. We don’t have to apologize for saying that God has the problem under control even in we lack further clarity on the issue.

Jesus’ uniqueness is more fundamental than the question of the unevangelized. Any time we deal God’s truth we must begin from clarity or understanding and work out the secondary questions or the unclear from there. God’s good, trustworthy character assures us he will do what is right. He will not unjustly condemn the unevangelized, for whom Christ died. Throughout the Scriptures-and in the world today-God makes himself known in surprisingly wonderful ways. Our question boils down to the goodness of God, who loves all without exception, and whose purposes for all our good. If other paths to salvation exist then Jesus’ sacrifice was unnecessary.

(Rom 1:16-21 ESV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the  creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

(Joh 14:6 ESV)  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(Act 4:12 ESV)  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

We see from the Scriptures Paul’s answer is clear. He said that the heathen are “without excuse”(1:20) because “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them”. First Romans clearly shows us that the Jew is judged by the law, the Hebrew Scriptures, but the Gentile is condemn by “the law written on their hearts.” Romans 2:14 through 15, helps complete the fall of Romans chapter 1:

(Rom 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

Second this question also assumes innocence on the part of the man who hasn’t heard the gospel. As fallen creatures somehow we always seek to defend our wickedness by assuming our innocence before a holy and sovereign God. But the Bible tells us differently in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. In addition we’ve just seen in Romans chapter 1 that God clearly reveals himself through natural revelation “so that they are without excuse.” Human beings are not innocent regarding God’s natural revelation.

Third, if a person who has not heard the gospel lives his life or her life to the best of their ability this results simply in doing works for salvation. But as we know salvation is by grace, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your selves; it is the gift of God”(Ephesians 2:8). Not in any way, shape, or form can anybody do anything good enough to gain access into heaven. If there was such a way, then the work of Christ on the cross was a few and unnecessary act.

Finally, the Bible says in essence, “seek and you shall find.” That is, those who seek the light they have through nature, which is not sufficient for salvation, will get the light they need for salvation. In Hebrews 11:6 Scripture tells us, “but without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a re-warder of those who diligently seek him.” We are also told in Acts 10:35, “but in every nation who ever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” God has many ways to get the truth about salvation through Christ to the who seek Him. He can’t stand a missionary (acts 10), or a Bible (Psalms 119:130), give them a vision (Daniel 2; 7), or send an angel (revelation 14). But those who turn their back on the light they have(through nature) and find themselves lost in darkness, have no one to blame but themselves. We are told in the book of John 3:19, “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

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