Summary: Opponents accuse God of injustice for sending people to hell who never had the chance to hear the Gospel. That would be unjust if it were true, but God gives everybody a chance to be saved & judges them on a different basis.
CAN THOSE WHO’VE NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL BE SAVED?
A. HUMOR: IMPORTANCE OF REPUTATION
1. A guy was going 89 MPH. A cop pulled him over.
2. “Let me see your driver’s license.” “Don’t have one.”
“Let me see your insurance.” “I don’t have any.”
“Pop your trunk.” “I can’t - there’s a dead body in there!
3. THE OFFICER CALLED THE CHIEF. “Come here NOW! I have a guy who says he doesn’t have a license, insurance, and has a body in the trunk.”
4. THE CHIEF ARRIVES. He asks the man the same 3 questions and he cheerfully complies, giving him his license, insurance, and popping the trunk.
5. THE CHIEF SAID, “My officer here said that when he asked for your license, you said you didn’t have one; when he asked for you insurance, you said you didn’t have any. And when he asked you to open your trunk, you couldn’t because you had a dead body in there!”
6. The Driver looked astounded, scratched his head, and said, “I guess the next thing he’ll say is that I was going 89 MPH!”
7. The driver put a spin on the officer’s reputation. Our reputation is important.
1. Atheist Dr. Ray Bradley says, “[Christians’] God will torture the majority of humans eternally in hell for the sin of unbelief, even though most of them have never even heard Jesus' name.”
2. He says there is no way such a punishment is either “just” or loving. Is it true that a person's salvation or damnation could simply be the result of a historical or geographical accident – they were born in the wrong place or time?
3. Are these charges true? The title of this message is, “Will Those Who’ve Never Heard the Gospel All Be Lost?”
I. PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS
A. CHRISTOCENTRIC VIEW OF SALVATION
1. ONLY MEDIATOR. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” There’s no other conduit between God & man.
2. THE ONLY WAY TO THE FATHER. “I am the Way….No one comes to the Father except through Me,” John 14:6. “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son…has made him known” Jn. 1:18. Jesus is the only revealer of the Father.
3. THE GATE/ DOOR OF SALVATION. “I am the gate of the sheep….I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:7, 9.
4. HE IS ETERNAL LIFE. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” I Jn. 5:11-12.
5. REDEEMER/ ONLY ACCEPTIBLE SACRIFICE. “He will save His people from their sins” Mt. 1:21. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” 1 John 2:2. The Father was satisfied with His sacrifice, Isa. 53:11.
6. ONLY HIS NAME SAVES. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12.
B. GOD IS A GOOD & JUST GOD
1. God declared Himself to be “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” Ex. 34:6. That’s His good nature.
2. God will also judge justly, not meting out a harsher punishment than necessary, but taking into account all the facts of each case. As Abraham asserted, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Gen. 18:25. He WILL do right.
C. EACH PERSON GIVEN CHANCE TO MAKE HEAVEN
1. As Adrian Rogers said, “I believe with all my heart that there’s never been a person who died without some opportunity to have received Christ, had they lived up to the light that God gave them.” I believe that.
2. Josh McDowell & Don Stewart (Answers to Tough Questions), said, “We do believe that every person will have an opportunity to repent, and that God will not exclude anyone because he happened to be born at the wrong place and at the wrong time” (1993, p. 137).
D. ALL GIVEN GENERAL REVELATION
1. Paul in Rom. 1:20, “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.”
2. Even those who’ve never heard the Gospel have it written on their hearts, “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” Rom. 2:15.
3. However, all agree that General Revelation is not sufficient to teach us about God’s Son, Jesus.