I have been thinking about this problem for some time. Here it is:
Based on my observation and understanding, through the ages after the Genesis Flood, there are four groups of people living in this world. They are:
1. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
2. Those who were exposed to the Gospel but have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
3. Those who have been exposed to the Old Testament only and are waiting for the coming of their Messiah.
4. Those who have not been exposed to either the Old or New Testament. At the present time, this group of people although they are living in the present time, are no different from those who lived in the day after the Genesis Flood.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” How can one apply this statement to the people in group 3 and 4 either in the past or present?
In John 15:22, Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” In the KJV, it is translated as, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin”
Do you see my problem? How do you apply John 14:6? I let God be the judge, I am just trying to gain understanding of the scripture.
This is another one of those things we just can’t know for sure in its detail. But we can know this. God is just, so if He’s going to condemn everyone who doesn’t believe in Him to eternal punishment, then He has to give everyone ever born a bona fide chance to believe. Otherwise, He’s not just. Just because we didn’t see it, or can’t understand how it could have happened doesn’t mean it didn’t. And please remember, everyone exposed to the Old Testament has heard the Redemption Story.
Paul does say in Romans 1:18-19 that no man can use ignorance as an excuse, because God has made Himself evident in the creation. And I believe that once a person has come to the realization that God exists, then He’ll literally move heaven and Earth to reveal His plan of redemption. In Jeremiah 29:13 we’re told that when we seek God with all our heart we’ll find Him. Jesus said that all who seek Him will find Him. (Matt. 7:7-8)
So the way to apply John 14:6 is literally. It means what it says.