I have to share with you my Sabbath. Yes, I got lots of rest, as I should, but I also spent the day pondering a very interesting statement that posed to me a few days before. In a nutshell, “What about those who have never heard about Jesus? Do you mean to tell me they go to hell?” I didn’t have an opportunity to respond. The window opened and closed that fast. Looking back, I’m glad it did.
How would you respond to that? It’s a fair question. It’s a question that for them has become a stumbling block. Of course, one would want to tell them the truthful answer yet in a way that promotes compassion and love. A know-it-all answer, especially an incorrect one, will only serve to alienate. That’s the last thing we want to do.
So, in the big picture, I was left with my sword lying on the ground and didn’t realize it until later. Mind you, I have heard this question answered many times before, yet I didn’t have a response off the top of my head. Shouldn’t I? I think I should. Not that I must have all the answers to every question, but this one is pretty basic. For several days, I had been pondering this. Yesterday, I spent the entire day on it.
I wish I had time to share it all in one email. It’s too wide. Let me hit it with a question and answer format for now.
Question: What about those who have never heard of Jesus. Do they automatically go to hell?
Answer: Yes, because no one comes to the Father except through faith in Jesus.
Question: What about Abraham? Both Romans and Hebrews clearly state he had saving faith yet he never heard of Jesus.
Answer: Yes, because he believed and trusted in God.
Question: Doesn’t that void your first response?
Answer: No, because the gospel is a progressive revelation. From the birth of Jesus on, faith in Him is required.
Question: Then how can you blame someone if they have legitimately never heard of Jesus?
Answer: Exit, Stage Left.
There is so much more than meets the eye on this one, folks. Not only that, but we are required to know and be able to teach it.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
So, I started digging into it. Most of the stuff I Googled turned the question around and emphasized our need to evangelize to the entire world. But that doesn’t answer an honest question from a teenager. Our faith must be defensible, otherwise it is simply more hot air blown by windbags. We know it isn’t. Why? Because God says so. And, as usual, he gives us a reasons, both for and against.
Isaiah 1:18-20 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
I don’t know about you, but I think it would be wise for us to prepare so that we might be able to reason with others. It looks like we have just begun our next series.
Father, prepare our hearts and minds as we take a journey through the bible to answer questions that are difficult to answer. We know that faith in Jesus is the only way to righteousness, yet simply objections leave us speechless. Train us in the way we should think. Renew our minds. Teach us so that we may teach others. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers