So back to the question that I wanted to discuss with Abigail D. about a month ago.
Is God Just: What about those who haven't heard? Would God send them to Hell without at least a chance?
Abigail, you said that this was THE issue that turned you off to Christianity. And I have to agree that I struggled with this question. It had been gnawing at me for years, because how can you call God just when he will judge people who haven't even had the opportunity to reject Him? Well, here is what I see in Scripture regarding this-
1. Jesus is the door to salvation, anyone can enter God's presence, but only through faith in Him.
John 3:16-21; John 14:6; John 10:9; Acts 4:12; Luke 8:12; Acts 16:30-31
2. God uses everything to draw people to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
"who (God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
-1 Timothy 2:4
External witness- Nature (Romans 1:20)
Internal witness- The Holy Spirit (Romans 1:19; Ecclesiastes 3:11; John 16:8-11)
Relational witness- People & Jesus (Luke 11:47; John 12:32)
Prophetic witness- The Bible, prophecies (Matt. 12:39; 2 Timothy 3:16)
So you see, God uses everything to make himself known. For those in obscure parts of the world, the have at least both an external & internal witness, which is sufficient.
3. God wants people to go into all the world and tell people about Jesus.
This is the great commission to the Church- Matthew 28:18-20, which is what the Church is doing. In fact, today every area of the earth has been reached, there are just certain tribal groups that have not.
4. Jesus will not judge the world until every people group is reached.
Matthew 24:14; Romans 11:25
5. If someone seeks after God, God will reveal more of Himself to that person.
My favorite example of this playing out- Acts 8:25-40
This man was trying to understand, so God told Philip to go to the man and tell him.
1. What if there is none who are willing or able to go, say before we had good transportation?
Well, I have heard several reports from missionaries who explain that when they reached a tribe, there was either a Christ-type, or even crosses present in the tribe & they already understood. So I believe that God can use this external, internal witness & possibly even angels.
I have an interview from a former Shaman who says he knew exactly who Jesus was before any missionaries came. However, the spirits within him told him that this being in white, Jesus was an enemy. If you want to hear it, I have a copy I can send you.
Also, I think that God is able to sustain someone who has not heard & is seeking until they come to faith. But I have no proof for this.
So Christians, this is why it is important to hit the mission field. Not to get people to join your religion, but to tell people about Jesus and give them an opportunity.
2. If people could be saved apart from faith in Jesus, then it would be better to NEVER tell anyone about Jesus. However, this goes against all biblical teaching.
3. What about infants or those who are mentally unable to make decisions? I would appeal to God's mercy in these cases, but not for those who could volitionally decide to either reject or accept the revelation that they have received.
If you could be saved apart from Jesus, then God would still be a brutal savage & the cross would be emptied of all value; it would be meaningless.
God wants all men to be saved & come to a knowledge of the truth. Only those who accept Jesus as lord & savior can be forgiven & stand before God. God uses EVERYTHING to reveal himself to people. People who respond favorably to this revelation will receive further revelation. People who reject or ignore this revelation will not be given more (Mark 4:24-25).