Lee Strobel – [email protected]
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about Christianity-and frankly, it’s challenging because we don’t have the complete answer. God hasn’t explicitly told us how he is going to deal with these situations. But we do know a few things about the matter.
FIRST, we know from the Bible that everyone has a moral standard written on their hearts by God, and that everybody is guilty of violating that standard. That’s why our conscience bothers us when we do something wrong.
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Eph. 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Rev. 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled
SECOND, we know that everyone has enough information from observing the created world to know that God exists, but people have suppressed it and rejected God anyway-for which they rightfully deserve punishment (Rom. 1:18-20).
Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom. 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom. 1:20 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
THIRD, we know from both the Old and New Testaments that those who seek God will find him. Jesus said, for example, in Matthew 7:7,
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
The Bible also indicates that the Holy Spirit is seeking us first, making it possible for us to in turn seek him (John 16:7-11). This suggests to me that people who respond to the understanding that they have and who earnestly seek after the one true God will find an opportunity, in some way, to receive the eternal life that he has graciously provided through Jesus Christ.
Fourth, we see repeatedly in Scripture that God is scrupulously fair. Genesis 18:25 asks, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Said author Ronald Nash: “When God is finished dealing with all of us, none will be able to complain that they were treated unfairly.”
Finally, we know that apart from the payment Christ made on the cross, nobody has a chance to getting off of death row. But exactly how much knowledge a person must have about Jesus or precisely where the lines of faith are drawn, only God knows. He and he alone can expose the motives of a person’s heart.
Let me add that, without exception, every time I’ve heard this question it has been from someone who has heard about Jesus. As important as this theoretical discussion is regarding the fate of those who have never heard, I need to remind those people that they have heard the good news and that they are responsible for what they do with it. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 12:48,
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
My strong encouragement to you, or to the friend who asked you this question, is to respond to God’s gracious offer of salvation through Christ and then join those of us who are doing all we can to spread his love and truth to everyone we can possibly reach-especially those who have never heard the good news.
“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Jesus, in Matthew 7:8
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John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God
Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them
PUT YOUR TRUST AND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST (OUR SAVIOUR):
(Romans 12:2) to seek God’s will, the Lord says, “Do not worry about what you’ll eat or drink or wear. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”