All the Peoples of the Earth
The following verse has been the lead off verse in many of my past commentaries and yet it seems I’m continually forced to explain it or defend it – here we go again. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. What could Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, have possibly meant by proclaiming such a statement so completely exclusive as to thoroughly eliminate any other way of obtaining eternal life? Do you suppose He was only referring to those people who’ve heard the Gospel and made their choice to either believe in Him or reject Him? Surely He couldn’t have been considering the 1.5 billion adherents to the religion of Islam, right? And what about those people who live in the deepest regions of earth’s most obscure locations? How do they fare in regards to that verse above? Would it be fair of God to punish those who’ve never heard the Gospel or who’ve been taught another way to paradise?
“Well God is a fair God; surely He wouldn’t send someone to Hell for an eternity just because they weren’t given the opportunity to hear the Gospel message, or they were taught completely contrary to what the Gospel of Christ teaches.” Let’s get something straight right now before we venture any further into this seemingly controversial subject. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:41. God created Hell for Satan and His angels, not for man. When people end up in Hell it’s by their choice, not God’s. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Never has it been God’s choice to send people to Hell, nor will it ever be. It is always each individual’s choice. That’s what love is; God loves us so much He gave us a way to avoid Hell but He won’t interfere with our choice if we decide to choose Hell over an eternity spent with Him.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. This is the theme of Paul’s entire letter to the Roman Christians. Paul gladly proclaimed it as God’s panacea for mankind’s spiritual need. Paul indentified the Gospel of Christ as the “infinite resources of God” applied toward the goal of salvation in the life of everyone who believes regardless of racial background. And there is only one stipulation to obtaining God’s infinite resources and that is all people on earth no matter who they are or where they are must, individually, believe in the Gospel of Christ. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved…” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-2a.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 1:18. Humans have a very difficult time grasping in their finite minds the meaning behind the “Wrath of God”. God’s wrath is not based on His emotions or anger, which is a human trait. Humans are motivated by selfish personal reasons and wrath in human terms would fall into a category of a need to punish or get back at someone – such as a need for revenge. But God is not motivated by human emotions. He is completely righteous in His character, and the fairness which is derived out of the minds of men is insufficient as far as God is concerned. What we believe is fair is subjective. Everyone has different motivating factors when it comes to their concept of what fairness is. Man’s subjective ideas of what fairness represents isn’t a quality that God considers when it comes to judging whether or not a person is born again. Fairness can’t save anyone. Just because you don’t think God is being fair won’t change His character. He’ll still do things His way. His way is just and perfect. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.
So what do we do about all those people who don’t have Bibles and can’t read even if they had a Bible? What about the Muslims who are not taught about Jesus as Savior and Lord? Many people on this earth are taught that evolution is true and there is no God and that human beings evolved from pond scum. This lie has been taught in public schools as truth for decades; many of these folks may never hear the truth of the Gospel. What is God to do with these folks? To be fair in men’s minds He would need to place these people under some other type of judgment that would uniquely pertain to them and their circumstances. Unlike the rest of those who’ve heard the Gospel yet still reject the truth, those who’ve accepted evolution and the lie that there is no God should get a more fair shake from our Creator, right? Wrong!
What about those who’ve been taught some other religion, something which is completely contrary to the Bible and God’s provision for salvation? Will they go to Hell because they’ve been taught erroneously yet believe that lie? Yes. Every individual on the face of this planet is held accountable to God to seek the truth “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Romans 1:19a. Some want to believe that this verse is referring to God manifesting Himself into the conscience of every man, but that’s not what this verse is saying. Verse 19 refers to the fact of His revelation and the next verse, verse 20 will explain the process by which that revelation takes place.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:20. Paul wrote this verse as a condemnation to all those who reject God. “Clearly seen” means just that, clearly seen. And “understood by the things that are made” means that what God has made is not only clearly seen but understandable by observing the things which He alone has made. People of earth can’t say they didn’t know God nor can they say they’ve never had a chance to know God since God has made even the invisible things of Himself known to man through His creation, “even His eternal power and Godhead; so they are without excuse.”(v20b) God never said He inserted who He is into the brain (conscience) of every human; He said He showed it to them through His creation. They either accept that revelation or they reject it. Their choice.
Paul simply explains that we are all held accountable by God to know He exists, and that knowledge of His existence is evident by the fact that we can observe His creation every day. But, and this is imperative that everyone fully understand, the knowledge that God exists will not save anyone, including the people in darkest Africa who have never heard the Gospel message. Paul never refers to salvation in verse 20, only that they who reject God are without excuse. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.
Anybody who has a question about how the people in darkest Africa, or Muslims for that matter, are to hear the Gospel Jesus has the answer “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20. How many of you reading this commentary have stepped up to the plate so to speak and preached the Gospel to others? How many of you have ventured out of your comfort zone to make sure everyone you know has heard the Gospel message? Where is your heart? Is there a burden on your heart for the lost and perishing? Charles Spurgeon says “If you don’t have a burden for the lost you may be lost yourself.” If there is one person on the face of this earth who hasn’t heard the Gospel message, who does that put at fault? Who did Jesus give this commandment to? Was it not given to all those who claimed to be His disciples? Perhaps you’re one of those who believe that, that commandment was meant for only a select few and not Christ’s Church in its entirety.
Again, speaking of the fairness of God, our God is a just God and what you and I might consider fair may not even be a part of God’s attributes. Humanity’s idea of fairness is always going to be based on skewed emotions. For a moment, let’s give fairness some real hard human thought. In our human estimation of fairness, just how fair was it that God had to endure watching His only begotten Son being scourged – tortured like a criminal almost to the point of death, while being mocked, scorned, and even spit upon? How fair was it that God had to stand idly by watching as His Son endured the most extreme humiliation? How fair was it that after God created man that His creation would rebel against Him and need reconciliation so we wouldn’t all end up in Hell? Finally, was it fair that God would be subjected to watching while His only begotten Son was nailed to a cross, naked to the world, and finally die while hanging there still being verbally abused? We serve an awesome and just God; human ideals and human concepts of fairness have nothing to do with Who we serve and how He dispenses His justice.
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. Jesus paid the full price for our sins, He didn’t deserve what He went through, but we humans do deserve punishment – we deserve God’s wrath. Every last human being on the face of this planet is guilty – born guilty – awaiting to face God’s judgment. Because God did not allow the cup to pass from His only begotten Son we know that there is no other way for a person to obtain salvation and eternal life than through believing in Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection.
In verse 16 of Romans chapter 1 where Paul speaks of salvation, he also mentions what we are being saved from. It’s the wrath of God. Those of us who are born again have dodged that bullet by placing our faith, trust, and hope in God’s only begotten Son and what He accomplished on that cross. The Gospel message is imperative for coming to that conclusion and making a decision for Christ. No Gospel message taught in darkest Africa? No salvation is possible.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. The Creator of the universe tells us that we must be born again to see Heaven. According to Jesus this can only occur when we believe that He died for the sin of the world, that He was buried, and that He’s alive today because the grave couldn’t hold Him. The resurrection of our Lord and Savior is true, and documented by His disciples who saw the empty tomb and who watched as He entered the room where they were all hiding. Then some 500 others bore witness to the fact that He is alive and that He had been resurrected. The Gospel message is essential to the salvation of mankind and Christianity is built on this Gospel and no other. Just believing that there is a God through His special revelation (creation) won’t get you into Heaven. God is adamant in His word that salvation comes through no one or nothing else. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. That name is Jesus the Christ. The Messiah of Israel – mashiyach nagiyd, Messiah the King – the anointed of God. There is no other NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we MUST be saved.
My wife mentioned something the other day I thought was quite profound. She said “People play cards and board games and they, for the most part, play by the rules set down by the designer of that game. But when it comes to God’s rules (our Creator) people always want to make changes that better fit their lives and emotions – their concept of fairness”. Amen! This is exactly what we observe in the erroneous explanations of how the people of the deepest jungles and recesses on planet earth will be accepted by the Father in lieu of salvation through His only begotten Son. When people feel the need to placate the masses through politically correct means concerning some 1.5 billion people who worship the god of Islam the same logic is used.
Here’s a newsflash for all those who like to think the Muslims are not part of the equation when it comes to following Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation. They are all condemned to Hell. They play by a totally different set of rules than Christians who worship the only true and living God and designer of the game, and they have already lost.
Unless someone tells the Muslims the truth – the Gospel message – and they repent and place their faith, trust, and hope in Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation they will remain on the broad way that leads only to destruction, as will the natives of deepest darkest Africa. “…for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” Matthew 7:13. How many is many? We aren’t told but in contrast in the next verse Jesus mentions that few will enter in through the strait way and narrow gate. Both words representing many and few in the Greek are used denoting numbers. We can only guess at what number the Creator of the universe was trying to convey, but I suggest He’s quite serious about the fact that many will perish and few will be given everlasting life.
Many of us are guilty of redesigning God into an image that falls more in line with our humanistic thinking. But what we should be doing with our self-made God is comparing him to the reality of the God of the Bible. Then we should make the appropriate alterations to our thinking which will put us in tune with our Creator and His truth and remove any foolish inclinations.
The fact that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone is true and biblical and that truth can’t be skewed even a little for those who wish to distance themselves from the fact that perhaps they’ve never really committed to following Jesus’ commandment concerning preaching the Gospel to the world. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that there will be some who will be exempt from the necessity of hearing the Gospel and believing, nowhere. This concept is, in its entirety, a man made doctrine built on man’s emotions and ideals. God has never changed His mind about salvation. The Old Testament believers were looking to and believing in faith that their coming Messiah would be their salvation. Today we look back at the cross, at where our Messiah was hung and where He died. Then we look to His resurrection as our hope for eternal life. Without the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, without believing in His death, burial, and resurrection our hope is in vain. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. …And if Christ be not raised… ye are yet in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17.
“…No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6b. Let me just add, period.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed