Saturday, April 12, 2014

What about those that have not heard the Gospel?

The Bible states that if one believes upon Jesus Christ he or she will be saved (Acts 16:31). So where does that leave those that that have not heard, what is their fate?

I do not believe God is unjust, and that he leaves certain responsibilities to us (Imago dei). Well we know that God desires all people to be saved (but not in a universal sense).

1 Timothy 2:4
English Standard Version (ESV)
Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

At the same time, we are really without excuse to believe in God.

Romans 1:20
New International Version (NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We also know it is not up to us to decide ones fate through judgment calls without authority.

Romans 2:1
New International Version (NIV)
God’s Righteous Judgment
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

And of course, we have a conscious.

Romans 2:15
New International Version (NIV)
They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

So really, there would be a judgment upon the person who has not heard the Gospel (not through stubbornness per se) and that would be dependent upon their consciousness to their heart. The Bible was written to a high-context society, you also have to factor this in.  That means that it would be common knowledge (widely accepted) that such beliefs would be reputed. Secondly, the Bible was written to believers. Therefore those that have not heard will be judged according to their heart.