What about those who have never heard the gospel?

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 theirthoughts accusing or else excusing them Rom 2:14-15

God is a gracious God.  More so than we really know. Mankind has been so hostile to God, but He has been so kind to us.  For he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).

But because of our ignorance we accuse God of evil. One of the ways that many people accuse God of evil is by saying that He is unjust because He damns people who are ignorant regarding His ways.  We say that since no one can be saved without accepting Jesus Christ, then those who never hear about Him must be damned.

Well, what do you think?

God is a just and fair God.  Justice is the foundation of His throne, the bible says.  You can be sure that everything God does is completely just and completely fair. If He is ever ‘not fair’ it is only so in the sense that it is to mankind’s advantage (that being God’s mercy)!

So what about this topic.  What about the people off in some jungle somewhere who have never heard about Jesus Christ?  Are they damned since they haven’t accepted Jesus?  We are actually asking the wrong question. The question that we should be asking is, “Have they accepted the Lord Jesus?”

The passage above (Rom 2:14-15) shows us that all the people of the world have the knowledge of God’s law in their hearts. It says that their conscience bears witness of this law.  God put it there.  Every person from the foundation of the world has had the knowledge of God imparted to them and every person can look back into their lives and remember when that knowledge of good and evil convicted them – probably when they were a child.  Some people listen to that law and some people don’t.

A good example of this in the bible would be the natives of the island of Malta in Acts 28.  Paul the apostle had shipwrecked onto that island.  These people had never heard the gospel, but yet the bible says that they treated Paul and the others with ‘unusual kindness (Acts 28:2).’  Who taught them to be kind?  There are lots of other third-world natives that are barbaric, but who taught these to be so kind?  Was it the ‘kill or be killed’ mantra of the jungle? No, it was the law of God written in their hearts.  They chose to obey it. Now, they didn’t have all of their doctrine right and they may have done other things wrong, but, even so, the evidence of that law was there among the people.  Would they go to heaven when they died? For those who accepted the revelation of Jesus that they had, yes, they would.  This scripture proves it:

What may be known of God is manifest in them (those who haven’t heard the gospel), for God has shown it to them. 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. Romans 1:19-20

Notice that the bible says that they are without excuse.  Most people use this passage in the negative sense, but look what happens when you turn it around. If they are without excuse, that has to mean that it was possible for them to do what was required of them (otherwise God would be unjust). Just because the vast majority of humanity rebels against God is no proof that man has to do so. Look at Enoch for example. He didn’t have a bible. He didn’t have the Holy Spirit or the law. He didn’t know about Jesus. Everyone around him was given over to wickedness, yet the bible clearly says that he walked with God. So much so that God took him up straight to heaven (Gen 5:24). Enoch walked in the light of what he knew, and God’s grace was with him.

Some may say, ‘then why should we preach the gospel?’  Ah! Here is were God’s incredible grace comes in. God’s love for us is so abundant that even though we are disobedient to the law He was placed within us, He still sends His servants into the four corners of the earth to reach His hand out to those who have rejected Him. He doesn’t want any to perish, but all to come to the knowledge of the truth. He sends his servants, rising up early and sending them. He commands His servants to take abuse and death and humiliation for His names’s sake. He commands them to forsake the pleasures of this world. He commands them to give their life for the sake of preaching the gospel. WHY? Because His heart overflows with love for a dying world. He longs to give them a second chance.  He sends His Son to die for them, so He can forgive them of their sins.  He loves us more than we can imagine.

Oh, may we never judge God as unjust!  He most certainly is not!