What about those who have not heard the gospel? Must everyone believe the gospel? God does not want anyone to perish. Instead, He desires that all people know the truth and be saved from his judgment; He wants all to have eternal life through faith in His Son. God has made it possible for every person to arrive at God-consciousness through natural revelation. If they believe in God, He will provide gospel information.
- Application of the doctrine of God’s essence. God's nature, especially his attribute of justice, guarantees that he will exercise justice toward people whom he makes responsible to believe the gospel. He will not unjustly demand something that is not possible (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 45:21; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 145:17; 1 John 1:5).
- Application of the doctrine of unlimited atonement. All mankind is sinful and under God’s judgment (Romans 3:23; 6:23), but Christ died for the sins of every member of the human race, believer and unbeliever alike. Christ sacrificed himself to redeem all people (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 19; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9).
- Application of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. God does not want anyone to perish. Instead, He desires that all people know the truth and be saved from his judgment; He wants all to have eternal life through faith in His Son (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; Revelation 22:17).
- Application of the doctrine of gospel availability. God has made the gospel message (the way to have relationship and fellowship with God) known to mankind. God created Adam and Eve; he had fellowship with them and provided a wonderful life until they chose to sin. At that point God promised that he would solve the sin problem through the seed of the woman. This, of course, referred to the future savior, the messiah, who would be the sacrifice for sin. This message was passed on throughout following generations so that the world has had God’s message of salvation available since the creation of Adam and Eve until the present. As mankind disbelieved, it changed the message and passed on this corrupted message in various forms. These corrupted forms of God's original message became the basis for the many religions (Genesis 3:15, 21; 4:3-6; 12:3; Psalm 22:11-18; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 53; Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1-15). In summary, there was
- One faith in the beginning
- People began to disbelieve and to change God’s message
- Non believers spread corrupted messages or counterfeit gospels which became religions
- Satan has counterfeited the gospel
- There are always some true believers
- Application of the doctrine of God-consciousness and gospel hearing. God has made it possible for every person to arrive at God-consciousness through natural revelation (Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 19:1-6; Acts 14:17; 17:22-24, 28; Colossians 1:17; Titus 2:11). If, after this, that person desires gospel information, God will reveal it to him in some way (John 7:17; Acts 17:26-27).
- Application of the doctrine of the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world to convince mankind about sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit will make the gospel understandable to those who want gospel information so that they can believe it (John 16:8-11).
- Application of the doctrine of salvation. Salvation has always been by grace through faith in God’s redeemer. In the period before the incarnation the coming promised seed, the messiah, the son of God, was the object of faith (1 Peter 1:10-12; Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3; Galatians 3:16; Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 53). The awaited redeemer entered the world as Mary’s son by the Holy Spirit. He was the savior, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25; 1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 14:6; 3:16-18, 36; 6:40; 20:31; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 4:10).
- Application of the doctrine of individual responsibility. The person asking the question "what about the heathen or those who have not heard" has heard about Christ, so is responsible to believe the gospel regardless of those who may not have heard the message (John 3:16-18; Acts 16:25-31).
Sunday, November 1, 1998