John 1:9 – That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.
1 Corinthians 8:3 – But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
Do all people have an equal chance to be saved? And what about people who die that do not have access to a Bible, that have not heard of the Lord Jesus Christ, who have not heard the gospel? This a fair enough question which we will deal with this in this blog, although in many cases this line of questioning and reasoning usually serves as a convenient, go to argument that helps those who want to justify what they are doing, how they are living, the choices they make, which attempts to ease the conscience of such who seek to wash their hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as Pilate did.
The Bible says that God is the Judge of the Universe. He is the perfectly righteous Judge, his ways, his judgements are equal and true. There is noone going to hell who did not choose to go there. If there is someone in the Congo who never read a Bible, who never heard the gospel, but who had a true and sincere heart looking for truth, do you not think that God will honor this person, do you not think that God is able to save this person, do you not think this person will be saved and go to heaven? This person is saved by his faith in God, we are saved by faith in God, even if we do not know all the details. In fact, none of us ever know all the details, how much of the Bible do you really, truly understand, is not God infinitely greater than us, far beyond our comprehension? God promises that he that asks for will be given, he that seeks will find, he that knocks it shall be opened unto him. And what is it to you anyway really, would you not agree that it is a full time job just looking out for yourself, and your own salvation, without talking about and disputing everyone elses? You do not know what is in anyone elses heart, in fact we do not even see the depths of wickedness in our own hearts. Is it not their salvation and chance to be saved between God and them, just like your life and what you have done with the gospel is between God and you?
To dispute that God does not give everyone a chance to be saved is to call him a liar. God’s word is clear and consistent on this issue, so arguing to the contrary is putting your word up against Gods, something which may or may not worry you when you think about it. You are calling your Creator a liar, you are the clay saying to the potter, Why hast thou made me thus? God’s word says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The Bible says that Jesus has lighted every man that has come into the world. The Bible says that God has not left himself without witness, and that the gospel has gone forth into all the world. Psalms 19 says The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. At Pentecost, people from every nation under heaven were represented. Furthermore, our conscience, the law, the Holy Spirit bears witness in our heart. You do not need to have ever read a Bible to know that killing, stealing, committing adultery is wrong.
There is also a great misconception about these so called people that have never heard the word, that are never given are chance. These people are humans, just like the rest of us. They have pride. They are sinners. They hate. They kill. You may take them the gospel, and they will throw it back in your face. It is grossly erroneous to think that people that are taken the gospel will instantly receive it. If you can refuse it, can’t they? After all, the majority of people even in so called Christian countries are not saved. You may have been exposed to the truth your whole life, yet you refuse it. Just because it is available, makes you no more or less likely to take it. The rich man in hell asked Abraham that Lazarus might be sent unto his brethren, reasoning that they would surely believe if someone from the dead came back. Yet Abraham said, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. The children of Israel saw the Red Sea part, they saw manna rain from heaven, they saw water come from the rock, and yet they did not believe. Jesus did so many miracles, yet the Bible says they did not believe. Whether or not we believe is not based on what we see, what we are given, what is imposed upon us – it depends on our heart, is our heart good soil, or is it rocky, stony, thorny ground? Has the Holy Spirit plowed your heart, or do you resist the Holy Spirit? Do you receive the word? Do you have a love of the truth in you? Do you come to the light, or do you prefer darkness? If any of these so called people who never have a chance to be saved have good soil in their heart, Gods incorruptible seed, his word, will find place, will take hold in their heart. They will be saved. They receive the truth, they love the truth, they hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At this point is is necessary to see that Gods word is more than just ink on paper, Jesus said his words are spirit and life. God’s word can come to anyone at anytime, God can bear witness in your heart without a Bible in your hands. No, God does not contradict his word. Throughout much of history, there was not a written word for people. Abel did not have a Bible to read, and yet he had faith in God, and yet he brought a sacrifice which God accepted. Enoch had no Bible, and yet his preaching today stands sure and true, and his words still echo throughout history heralding the coming of Jesus with his saints. Abraham had no Bible, and yet he was the greatest man of faith to have ever lived. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had no inkling as to who Jesus was, what he looked like, and yet when he saw the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, he saw a fourth man walking with them, who he recognized instantly as the Son of God. He had never seen him before, yet he recognized him! God’s word defies human intellect, it passes understanding, it is beyond man’s finite wisdom and beyond man’s manipulation, corruption and manipulation. God’s word is spiritual and ministers to our spirit. Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
When people died in the Old Testament they went to the heart of the earth, to a place called paradise. In the same heart of the earth was, and still is, hell. As Abraham said, There is a great gulf fixed between the two places. When Jesus died he went to the heart of the earth. People like Abel, Moses, Joshua, Samson, David, Solomon, Naboth, Ruth, Elijah, Elisha, Jehoshaphat, Isaiah, and even Lot all saw Jesus for the first time. We must remember that these people lived by faith in God, they did not know anything yet, Jesus was a mystery to them, and yet they received him. They all had the same faith in the same God producing the same works and same fruit, they all knew they were sinners that needed a Saviour, they all had broken contrite hearts, something that anyone across the world regardless of background, knowledge and Bible access can have, and just as these people had. Jesus was the one they were looking for, despite knowing basically nothing about him. And they heard his voice, just like Jesus said of his sheep in John 10. Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Jesus said, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. All these truth seeking, saved people, and by the way, IT WAS GOD who knew they were saved, people like Lot wouldn’t have seemed saved to anyone else who lived, received Jesus, and raised from the dead with him, and went to heaven with Jesus when he ascended! With regards to Lot, who the Bible calls righteous Lot, we see that it is incredibly dangerous to base your life, what you say, what you believe on those around you, as you do not know the heart condition of anyone else around you, both so called Christians and those you think have no chance to be saved. Jesus said in John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. How stupid would it be to refuse to be saved because of some fake so called Christian, and deny yourself eternal life!
At the end of the day, it comes down to you individually, just like with everyone else. God knows his own. God is the perfect Judge who will judge every single individual person in true righteousness. But you can spend your whole life talking about others, and yet you will die one day, as I will, and whether or not someone in the middle of Mongolia had a chance to be saved will be the least of your worries. That person did have a chance to be saved, just as you did, they and you both had the ability to receive or reject. Whether or not they did or didn’t will not help you at judgement. Make sure you are saved and right with God. If you are generally concerned about the salvation of others, God can use you in his work, and God will show you and bear witness in your heart that he is a just, fair, perfect, loving God. The Bible says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. You can be saved, they can be saved, everyone and anyone can come. The invitation is extended, the gift free and available, will you take it, or will you judge yourself unworthy of eternal life?