Name: Greyson M Gambrell
What is the Destiny of the Unevangelized
First, to touch the subject of the fate of those not evangelized it is important to discuss what the Gospel is. The story of Christ, that He was perfect, died as a sacrifice for sins, and was resurrected, conquering sin and death, are beliefs critical to relay how one can be saved. Of course the well-known verse, John 3:16, tells us that if we believe in Jesus we will not perish but have everlasting life. Also following what Jesus began to preach at the beginning of His ministry and continued to preach was “the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel (Mar 1:15). In the Gospel of Luke Jesus ties these concepts together saying “…Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem( Luke 24:46–47). The following elements are elemental to the Gospel: all are sinners, all should repent, Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection are the way we can have forgiveness of sins, His work of salvation is made effective by faith, the consequence of belief in the Son of God is forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.
Now everyone who believes in Christ and this Gospel message may have everlasting life. Belief is a loaded word and means that a Christian is going to continue in the commands of Christ and have a living faith by practicing the things taught by Jesus and the full understanding of what the Bible relates. One is assured that if they believe in the Gospel they, like the man on the cross next to Jesus, are partakers of grace in Christ.
What of those who never heard the particular details of the Gospel? Paul certainly felt obligated, as one entrusted with carrying the mystery of the Gospel forth, to preach that Gospel. “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified(1 Corinthians 2:1–2). Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles felt that salvation or the promise of God came through the Gospel. “…to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel ( Ephesians 3:6). He spoke of predestination, but it seems none were more committed to spread the Gospel, than Paul. Paul points out that the Gentiles just as Jews are partakers of the promise through the Gospel.
Here is what is difficult. We know that Old Testament saints were saved by their faith. By faith men of old gained approval (Heb 11:1,2). There are those who were without excuse before God knowing His invisible attributes and the Godhead and living in sin, but what if there was revelation to those who were separated from the actual Gospel by word from men, like those who died before knowledge of the message and act of the cross, and they believed and that was accounted to them as righteousness. If it is clear in the Scriptures, then the debate should be closed, but God’s ways are higher than our ways, and He alone is able to judge. It may be that on the day Jesus judges all things, that those without the law will have it written on their heart, their conscience will bear witness, and their thoughts will accuse or excuse them on the judgment day of Christ, and they will receive the promise( Rom 2:15-16).
This changes nothing on a Christian’s part. If God grants them life based on His revelation to them to have faith, then good! But, whether or not this is how God will judge, we have the commission to be empowered with the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses from Jerusalem to the end of the world. And to make disciples of the nations, teaching them all Christ commands us and this obviously includes the salvation of Christ by the message of the Gospel.