Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

The Church Has Left the Building – Part 6 of 6 – What About Those Who’ve Never Heard?


There are two questions regarding Christianity that many people have asked at some point in their lives: “Is Jesus really the only way to God?” And if so, “How is God going to deal with those who have never heard of Jesus? Is there any hope for them?” Why are these questions so common? There are several reasons: 1. Due to immigration and advances in technology, the world in which we live is a much smaller place. We live in intimate contact with those who practice other religions, or no religion. Many of their lives are impressive examples of faith, ethical conduct, and heroic self-sacrifice. Therefore, it is tempting to ask, “What makes Christianity so special?” 2. “Tolerance” has become the supreme value in our society, and it has been redefined. No longer does tolerance mean “showing forbearance or endurance toward those whose opinions and beliefs differ from your own.” Today, it means “Acceptance of other’s beliefs and opinions as equally valid to your own.” To say that one religion is true and another is false is “intolerant.” 3. Relativism has become the prevailing philosophical construct in our society. Our culture has moved away from the notion of absolute truth. Today, everything is subjective. It doesn’t even occur to nonbelievers that there may be an objective reality where the God of the Bible exists, and that their relativistic worldview is wrong. 4. Our flawed sense of “fairness” causes us to question God’s goodness. It just doesn’t seem fair that a loving God would exclude from his kingdom those who worship a higher power in their own way, and yet aren’t professing Christians.

But these points still do not answer our concerns about all the people who have never even heard of Jesus Christ. Is God just to condemn them? For the compassionate, thoughtful Christian, this is a difficult dilemma. The Scriptures reveal several insights: [1] God is just. First, we can be certain that in dealing with such people God will be fair, because God cannot act contrary to his character (Psalm 96:13). [2] No one will be condemned for rejecting Jesus Christ of whom he has never heard. However, the person who has never heard of Jesus Christ will be condemned for violating his own moral standard (Romans 2:12-16). [3] All men know God the Father (even those who claim that they do not; see Romans 1:18-21), and rejection of God the Father, which is just as serious a sin as rejection of God the Son. God has provided general revelation to the world. [4] Non-Christian religions are not a sign of man’s thirst to know the one true God, but of man’s rejection of Him (Romans 1:22-25). Pagan religion is a distortion of the truth where an exchange takes place between the truth about God and a lie. In pagan religion, the glory of the creature or creation is substituted for the glory of God. The Bible calls this “idolatry.” In fact, in Biblical parlance, to worship anything other than the one true God is to be an idolater, and it is a great insult to God. [5] There is no indication in the Scriptures that a person can be saved apart from trusting Jesus Christ as his Savior. But this raises a question. If people must hear about Jesus to enter a right relationship with God, how will they hear about him? [6] If we are concerned about the salvation of those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, we should be doing all that we can, personally and as a church, to tell others about him. [7] God responds to people according to how they responds to the light they do have. If they respond to the light God has given, (general revelation) he gives more light (Acts 8, Acts 10). God knows the thoughts, intentions, and yearnings of people’s hearts. And if a person seeks to know the one true God, God will reveal himself to him. [8] The church is commanded to share the message of Christ with everyone (Mark 16:15). Here at TCC, we take that responsibility seriously. That is why, as a church, we support various missionaries around the world. That is why we do all that we can to equip you to be able to sensitively and yet effectively share Jesus Christ with your friends, co-workers, and family members. Our goal and heart’s desire is to give everyone an opportunity to respond to God’s love in Christ.


God has fully, faithfully, and compassionately provided for the salvation of the world: He sent his Son to die for us, he provides us with universal, irrefutable knowledge of his existence, he convicts our conscience, and he commands believers to proclaim this good news. Let’s remember our responsibility: to share the good news with all who will listen, and to pray for receptive hearts.

Learn more here about knowing Jesus personally.

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