What about those who have never heard a gospel preacher nor read a gospel message? Jesus’ message about the little children for them is as true as it is to the Christian family.
Consider the following ideas when pondering this question.
Joshua 24:2 says that Abraham and his father worshiped other gods in the land of Ur before God called him to leave that land. It is likely they worshiped the moon god. How did Abraham know about God? The Bible says God spoke to him. If God spoke to Abraham in this way, can he not reveal himself today in the same way? Who knows how God speaks to the heathen?
We find a clue in Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” In Psalm 19:1-6 David praises God for having revealed himself by way of nature. Psalm 97:6 says, the heavens declare God’s righteousness and all the people see his glory.
However, it is my opinion that nature alone can and does lead to a lot of false worship as occurs in worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. Thus the need for missionaries. How can one see the perfection in nature without knowing that someone or something had to start this machine and keep it going! See a quote from Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Einstein was not a Christian according to his own words, “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one,…” I agree, the idea is very childlike. That’s faith. That’s me. I am put here by God, I will go to my next existence by way of God.
There is another consideration; that is, the question of whether one is guilty of sin where there is no law. Romans 4:15(NIV) says, “…because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.” Romans 3:20 (NIV) says “…through the law we become conscious of our sin.” Romans 5:13(KJV): “For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Another sticky wicket. It is a fundamental belief that we are redeemed because of our belief in Jesus’ blood atonement. Jesus is the only way! Is belief in a Creator God sufficient for eternal salvation? I can only point back to Jesus saying we must come to him as a little child. A little child seldom has the understanding of a triune God. I leave more of that conversation to those who are more learned than I. Beyond that, God is a righteous Judge.
So, given the issues above, why should we have missionaries? Why should one of the main facets of Christianity be promotion of the gospel message? Because faith is a gift of God and faith comes by “hearing” the word. For one thing, knowing God is a blessing for us as we walk on earth! A “secret” we need to share. Good medicine. The sooner one takes a dose and the more he takes, the better is his life and the life of all those under his influence.
Jesus told us to do so in Matthew 28:19. Maybe the long-suffering, loving God wants to give lost people many encouragements and give them many offers to choose him. Maybe he is open to listening to our doubts, complaints, excuses, questions. Maybe that is why he said through Isaiah (1:18-20NIV) “Come and let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land, but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”
Maybe if you are among those who rejected him, he wants to give you another chance. Maybe he wants you to know about his love and the love of his son, Jesus. Maybe he wants you to consider John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have life everlasting.”
I do know that God is a just God, whether or not he fits our pattern of fairness. As a teacher I learned that I could not always be “fair” according to what the students considered fair. There were times when I would assign ten words to one child and thirty-five to another. Fair? They often didn’t think so, but I knew more about Child #1 and Child #2 and what was a reasonable assignment for each. That is the role of the teacher. That also is the role of God. There will be a judgment day. Rewards and punishments will be different largely based on the resources and abilities at our disposal as well as the way we have used those resources. The non-reader will have as much chance to gain awards as I do and I have read the Bible twenty-five or thirty times. Could I have read it forty times or more. Yes, I could have. Could the non-reader read it one time? No. God will be just.
One more thing. We who have so much will be hard put to stand before God and claim to be innocent. I can’t claim innocence, I’ll just claim Jesus.
Martin Luther said on his death bed, “WE are beggars, it is true.”
This is a subject I’m glad to be through with! But we really do need to keep TRUTH in the airwaves. Sadly TRUTH is not always positive.
Oneta, I have heard some remarkable stories about how God has made Himself known to unbelievers. Whether or not someone has heard the gospel, every dane person knows, deep down, that he has broken the law, because God has written His Law on hearts. And a heart can want to change, but only if the Lord is drawing him(her). I’m so grateful He made Himself known to me. ❤️
Oh, yes! I know he wants the same offer made to all his people. We are obliged to do our part. Thanks for the comment. Sending joy!