Published on December 8th, 2016 | by Jaycen Saab
What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?
We bias this question toward ourselves and away from the holiness of God at every turn and we look for opportunities to point to the injustice of God.
A question I get on the streets and in conversations is one that at first seems plausible and difficult to answer. Yet when you see it for what it is, we find a clear explanation in Scripture. The question is, “What happens to those who never hear the Gospel?” Before answering we need to peel back the subtle curtains of deception and see the underlying assumption of man’s goodness outside of God. Sometimes the question comes out and states it blatantly as, “What about the innocent man in the remote jungle who never hears the Gospel? Why would a good God condemn him?”
We can begin to answer by first understanding that there are no innocent people. The Apostle Paul makes that clear in Romans 3:11-18 and Romans 3:23. If they were innocent they would have no need to hear the Gospel. God is not some bully in the sky waiting to condemn someone in a remote area to eternal damnation. In short, people don’t go to hell for not hearing the Gospel. People go to hell for denying and sinning against the God they know (Romans 1:18-19) exists.
I recently ran across a clip from David Platt speaking at Southeastern Seminary on this topic. As he accurately puts it, “We bias this question toward ourselves and away from the holiness of God at every turn and we look for opportunities to point to the injustice of God.” He lays out seven truths or affirmations in the book of Romans that help us understand what happens to people who never hear the Gospel. They are:
- All people know God the Father (Romans 1:18-21)
- All people reject true knowledge of God (Romans 1:21-25)
- There are no innocent people in the world (Romans 1:18-3:11)
- All people are condemned for rejecting God (Romans 1:18-3:20)
- God has made a way of salvation for the lost (Romans 3:23-25)
- People cannot come to God apart from faith in Christ (Romans 3:27-31)
- Christ commands the church to take the Gospel, to preach the Gospel to all people (Romans 10:12-17)
You can watch the full clip below.
Soli Deo Gloria!