by Roland W. Keith
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
To comprehend the destiny of those who have not been evangelized we must begin with this understanding. Whatever God’s justice demands, even if it is beyond our human comprehension, it is no more than we deserve. As a loving and holy creator God’s justice cannot be anything other than fair. If God had not devised a plan to satisfy His Own requirement for justice, while at the same time providing an avenue for salvation, each man, woman and child beyond the age of understanding would be destined for hell.
In one sense God’s plan of salvation has two parts. The first was to send His Own Son to earth to live a perfect life, thus fulfilling the law, and having done so for that Son to lay down His life as a sacrifice for our sins. Romans3:16-18 reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
The second part of God’s plan is to use the followers of Christ to reach as many of the condemned as we can. God’s plan encompasses three categories of man— (1) Those that have heard and accepted God’s offer of salvation, (2) Those that have heard and rejected God’s offer, and (3) those that have not heard the gospel. The fate of groups two and three is ultimately the same because both remain in their sins. Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Those that remain condemned suffer the second death, that is being cast into hell (Revelation 20:14).
Some question the fairness of condemning those that have not had the opportunity to hear of Christ. But Romans 1:19-21 explains, “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.” Each human has the innate and intuitive ability to perceive the existence of God, and to govern his life according to the natural law God has placed in his heart (Romans 2:14-15). Each of us has broken God’s law and stands condemned unless we are fortunate enough to hear God’s offer of salvation and accept it.
As Christians this knowledge concerning the condition of our own souls, as well as those of our fellow man should motivate us to evangelize as many as we can when we consider the words of Paul, “How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?... But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us? So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17).
Acts 17:31 tells us that God “has fixed a day on which He will judge the world.” Jesus described that day when the three categories of man will stand before Him in Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
If we care about the plight of those who are lost it is incumbent on us, as Christians, to provide them with the opportunity to know and accept Christ as Savior.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.