Today’s question is a great one. What about people who have never heard The Gospel, never heard about Jesus? What’s going to happen when they stand before God? How could it be fair of God to judge them about believing in Jesus or not if they’ve never heard about Him, if they’ve never heard The Gospel?
Of course, God is just and God is fair, and God is not going to judge people who have never heard about Jesus on the basis of, “Have you believed in Jesus?” Again, that just goes without saying, or else God would be unjust. But here’s a fact we need to consider: there’s no person who’s ever lived who hasn’t received revelation from God and about God. In fact, God is speaking to people, everybody, every single day of their lives, calling out to them, and they are ignoring Him.
Paul wrote in Romans 1:19, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,” now listen to this, “being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” So God’s speaking to everyone through the creation and He’s saying to them, “Seek Me, I’m here.”
In fact, God’s not only speaking to people through Creation, but Paul goes on to talk about how God speaks to people through their conscience as well. Because Gentiles who don’t have the law of Moses instinctively sometimes do the things that are written in the Law of Moses (Romans 2:14), this shows that they’ve got a God-given conscience that’s convicting them and condemning them all the time for their wrongdoing. So there’s a second way that God is speaking to people all of their lives, every waking moment. He’s convicting them when they don’t do unto others as they would have others do unto them. That’s The Golden Rule.
God also speaks to people through calamities. You know, when some natural disaster strikes, or some horrible thing, or the sorrows that everybody faces, or the death of a loved one, or various tragedies and so on, those are times when God is speaking to people, trying to get them to question, “What happens after I die? Is God upset over something?” He’s trying to get people to examine themselves. So God is speaking through Creation, conscience and calamity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is really just the icing on the cake. All right?
So when you ask the question, “What’s going to happen to people who have never heard?”, the basis of your question is wrong. Everyone has heard revelation from God. They’ve already received probably 95% of the revelation that God’s ever going to reveal to them in this lifetime. There’s only 5% left, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they’re ignoring the 95%, why should He waste His time and send a preacher to tell them the 5% when, for sure, they’re going to ignore that as well?
Okay, Paul asked this very question later on in Romans 10:17 as he talks about the fact that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, Jew or Gentiles. He said that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Then he asked this kind of rhetorical question, “But I say, surely they have never heard, have they?” He responds, “Indeed they have.” He quotes from one little section of Psalm 19. Paul quotes in Romans 10:18, “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” Now, most of his readers would be familiar with the context, and they would have known exactly the passage of scripture he’s quoting from, Psalm 19.
Psalm 19 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech; And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words.” Now here’s what Paul quoted in Romans 10: “Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.” Then he talks specifically about the sun. Well, the sun and the stars are just one really small aspect of God’s greater Creation. God’s speaking to people every day through the tweeting of birds, and the crawling of caterpillars, and everything that they see with their eyes, every thought they have, every aroma that they smell, every food that they taste. There’s a magic show going on day and night all around us, and through that, God is trying to get our attention, but people just ignore Him and they don’t seek Him.
That’s what God wants. He doesn’t want robots, He wants people who are interested. Now, let’s just say that you woke up one morning in your bedroom and there were 50 gifts— presents—wrapped up in nice boxes and wrapping paper all around your bed. Wouldn’t you wonder, first of all, what are these presents doing here? Then, secondly, who put these presents here? You’d want to seek to find out who gave you these gifts. Well, multiply that by 10 million, because that represents the life of every human being. Millions of miracles going on around us every day. People say silly things like, “Oh, I don’t believe in the virgin birth because that’s a birth without a conception.” Let me tell you, there’s bazillions of miracles that surround every normal birth. For God to pull off a virgin birth was nothing. He’s proven that by every other birth and all the miracles that accompany every birth. Right? Right.
Okay, so God’s expecting people to seek Him. Paul preached in Athens in Acts 17, saying of God, “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27). So you see, God expects people to seek Him. So that’s what people are going to be judged by who have never heard the Gospel, who have never heard about Jesus. They’re going to be judged on the basis of, “Did you seek for the Creator? Did you seek for the One who spoke in your conscience? Did you seek the One who sometimes allowed you to experience calamities to get you to think?” They’ll be condemned for their rejection of God and His attempts to reach them.
Okay? This could be expanded much further, but this is just the basics, a simple quick answer to a much bigger question. I’ve written a book called God’s Tests, which you can read for free here. It goes into some of these principles in more detail, if you’re interested. Okay? God bless you. Thanks for joining me!