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Concerning Those Who Have Never Heard of God

By Watchman | April 29, 2013

“For as many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”  (Romans 2: 12-16)

         I doubt if there is a Christian around who hasn’t been challenged at least one time (and most of us many more) by someone asking why God would condemn to hell people who had never had an opportunity to hear about Him.  Some people ask in all sincerity, and some with that “Aha!  I got you there!” attitude that I frankly find so obnoxious I have trouble responding politely. (Not for nothing do I have a T-shirt which reads “Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder, and Your hand over my mouth!)  It is sometimes difficult for some to answer this, because we know that people are judged by God by whether or not they have loved, followed and at least tried to obey Him.  We know that God loves us and wants no one to be condemned to hell; we know that that He is righteousness and justice, and we know that He plays fair.  Yet we also know that there are people–and have been even more in past ages–who never had an opportunity of hearing the word of God, and have never even been told the name of God and His Son, Jesus the Christ.  So how does God deal with them?  Does He indeed shut the doors of heaven against them?  Not necessarily.  I believe that the answer is to be found definitively in Paul’s words to the Romans.

     God has put within every person a special spot that instinctively knows of His existence.  We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27), and so have a spark of Him in our hearts.   Those of us who have been fortunate enough to live in places and times that allowed us access to knowledge, the law, the Scriptures and the sharing of the Gospel will be judged one day on whether or not we accepted Christ as our Savior, and God as our Father.  Probably nearly everyone in our day and age will be so judged, as even the most primitive villages in Asia and Africa appear to have at least a few TVs and missionaries have spent 200 years in the spreading of the Gospel message around the world.  Although Paul was addressing the Jewish community in Rome when he referred to the differences in knowledge between the Jews and the Gentiles, (in those days this equated to being either a Jew or a pagan), his words remain true today for the differences between the Jew or Christian believers and the followers of false religions.  He makes it clear that those who are completely unaware of the existence (or at least the names) of God and Jesus will NOT be judged by the same standards as those of us who have been given the chance to hear and follow His word.  There is a concept explained later in Romans called the “circumcision of the heart”, and I am as certain as I can be that this is what those who never heard the word will be judged by.  Paul speaks of those who do not have the law (i.e.:have never been taught about God or Christ) who “by nature do the things of the law”, and “who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience…accusing or excusing them.”  In other words, those who have never heard of God but who yet listen to that “still, small voice” of His that sends those of us who yearn for peace, love and redemption on a search for the divine; and who develop the instinctive sense of right and wrong that He has placed within us, may well receive their salvation.  God is so good!  He is imminently kind, overpoweringly loving and always merciful and righteous.  Hell is for those who knowingly reject His message of love, and/or deliberately quench those fires of goodness that God has put within us in order that we might meet with and commune with Him.

Glory be to God!


Topics: According to Scripture, Just A Thought, Salvation | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Concerning Those Who Have Never Heard of God”

  1. Susan Says:
    April 29th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Might I quote you dear Melissa? So simple and short and to the point.

    Seems I attract trolls wherever I go LOL.