Are Some Automatically Condemned?

Q. Since the death and resurrection of Christ millions of people have died without hearing the message of salvation through Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Does God automatically send those individuals to hell? Is there a way God is revealed to these individuals so they may be aware of the existence of God, believe in God and have faith that He will provide spiritual security? Must they hear the message of salvation thru Christ in order to trust God for eternal security?

A. I’m not sure I agree with your assumption that millions of people have died without having had a chance to know the Lord. Psalm 19:1-4 says the Heavens declare the glory of God in every language, and in Romans 1:18-20 Paul wrote that the creation itself offers irrefutable evidence of its Creator, leaving mankind without excuse. In both Old and New Testaments we’re told that whoever seeks the Lord will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Matt. 7:7-8).

God is just, so He can’t automatically condemn anyone. He’s also on record as saying He doesn’t want any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:3-4). This is not just wishful thinking on His part. He truly wants this and has done everything short of violating His own laws to provide mankind with a clear path to salvation.

Therefore since the only way to the Father is through the Son (John 14:6), we have to conclude that anyone who has recognized the existence of God has also received a legitimate offer of salvation based on the message of the cross. This is not a difficult thing for the Lord to accomplish. As soon as we admit that He’s there, He can give us dreams and visions and even speak the words right into our heart.

I’m convinced that no one will be able to stand before the Lord and honestly say, “I didn’t know.”

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