“They know the truth about God because he has made it known to them. For ever since the world was created people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can see clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” – Romans 1
There’s a dangerous doctrine floating around Christendom, and it goes something like this. If the wild man of Borneo has never heard of Jesus Christ, then God will not judge him guilty in the final count. He will be saved. Of course, it goes further then as well; if the wild man of Borneo is not guilty before God, then neither are those in our own community who haven’t been able to grasp the significance of what God has done through Christ. How can a loving God condemn such people?
Where has such thinking come from – the Bible perhaps? Clearly not. As we see in Romans, God tells us that everyone can see the evidence of God before them. Further on, God tells us something else as well, that all men have rejected Him, and rebelled against Him. We are all guilty, and our conscience and the law tell us we are. As an entire race, we will have no excuse before God.
Such thinking is prevalent in the world today, but also it seems, prevalent in the church now as well. We say, how dare you, or God for that matter, tell us we are guilty. We buy it hook line and sinker. It comes about partly because of our disobedience to the commands of Christ. Many who call themselves Christians today, have become ashamed of the Gospel which saves us.
At the beginning of a New Year, we will do well, all of us, to take stock of what the Bible really says on this matter. That mankind will have no excuse before God, outside of faith in Jesus Christ. That without faith, God will condemn us to hell. He will do so, because we are guilty and He is just. He has provided an alternative in Jesus Christ, but we reject that as well.
I read this week that there are some one billion people in the world who have never heard of Christ and around 4 billion who do not call him Lord. Clearly then, a lot of lives are at stake.
Want to know what God’s solution to this problem is? Well, a little further on in Romans, chapter 10 in fact, he tells us about the importance of those who bring good news to those who don’t know. It seems that God put a great deal of store on our bringing the good news to those who either have never heard, or haven’t yet decided about his Christ. On the whole, we are God’s agents for bringing the good news to a lost world, and Christ commands us to go into the world and proclaim him.
Perhaps we have allowed the world’s viewpoint to override what the Bible says, because we have by and large, failed in our duty. Clearly there is a mismatch between God’s expectation of our doing the task of making disciples, and our willingness to carry out that task, and so we have put the onus back on God to be lenient when it comes to the crunch. Not our problem we say, you deal with it.
All of us have much to learn about ‘dying to self’.
This week I read of a missionary couple who decided to leave everything they had behind, and go to a remote part of Sumatra in Indonesia. There, they met groups of people who had never heard of the name, Jesus Christ. When the villagers were asked, ‘do you know who made the world?’ they replied no, but had been wondering. What about who brings the rain or the sun? Nope. What happens when you die? Don’t know that one either, but we were really wondering about that question. So, the missionaries were able to explain who Jesus was as part of God’s plan, to a people group who had never even heard his names before. Soon, entire villages were saved and baptised into Christ.
Such a delight to read, their willingness to die to self enabled God to bring such blessing to those otherwise condemned.
At the beginning of a New Year, you and I must ensure that our priorities align completely with God’s purpose and will, nothing else must interfere. Unless they do, we will soon adopt any philosophy to cover our tracks. God will not change his view to fit in with our human thinking, and we simply cannot turn away from those around us who face hell.
Let us make it our primary goal this year, that whatever the cost, we will speak up. Others must hear the Good News.