I recently had the opportunity to discuss some parts of the Bible with a close friend of mine. They wanted to understand how someone could be condemned and be separated from God without ever knowing about Jesus. They wanted to believe that God would make an exception or another alternative for people in third world nations, or those who could have gone their whole lives without knowing Jesus, or the salvation found only under his name.
I understand this dilemma because it is one I have struggled with before, and the answer is an unpleasant one, but it is also the truth. The Bible says that there is only one name by which people are saved (Acts 4:12). Only one. There are no other alternatives. In Romans, the Apostle Paul lies it out clearly, that all people are separated from God by sin. There is no righteous person (Romans 3:10). It matters not how well they have tried to live their lives, they are sinners. All of our good deeds are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), and we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In the history of the world there has only been one good man, and He didn’t need salvation because he brought it to us.
It also says in Romans that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), not just physical death but spiritual death as well. There is no other compromise. There is no reprieve. If God were to neglect to punish sin, it diminishes His righteousness. He is perfect. He is holy. He is just. All sin must be punished, and all of us are sinners, so all of us are condemned to die. Period. It’s not pleasant, but it’s true.
So, that makes Jesus Christ the best thing to ever happen to the world. It makes the miracle of Good Friday and Easter the ultimate act of grace from a loving God. All sin must be punished, and that punishment is death, so Jesus Christ took that punishment for us, so that we would all have the right to be called the sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). There is grace. There is love. There is mercy. It’s all right there on the cross, and it came to fruition in the empty tomb. There is salvation for all people. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him would not die, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
There it is. The Good News of the gospel. So what does that mean for the person in the third world that has never heard of Jesus Christ? I’m sorry, but we all know exactly what it means, and that is why it’s so important that we, the body of Christ, get to them while there is still time, so that not one person would be lost (2 Peter 3:9).
I know that we would like to believe that God has a back-up plan for us failing to reach that individual, but there isn’t. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). The only way. If there was another way, then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to suffer on the cross. If us just being mostly good, or partially righteous earned us a one on one appointment with God for him to explain things, then why sacrifice His only son? Why did Jesus need to be stripped, beaten, tortured, ridiculed and executed if that was just one of the many ways we could get to God?
He wouldn’t. He didn’t. It’s just not reasonable. The Bible tells us who God is. It tells us who Christ is. It explains who we are, and how loved we are despite all that. It lays out exactly how we got to be this way, and how God, our loving father, accommodated us. It talks about a loving plan for salvation that existed before time began, and how that comes to life around us.
That’s who God is. That’s who Jesus is. That’s who we are. It may not be what we want, understand, or can explain, but God’s ways are not our ways, and you either accept and believe or you compromise the truth. You cannot alter what the Bible says without creating a God that simply does not exist. God is who He is. His ways are right, pure and holy, and they are beyond our understanding. If you want a real relationship with Jesus Christ, and the promise of forever in Heaven with our loving Father, then you need to know the facts. You need to know God’s Word, and what it really says.
But don’t believe me. I would recommend that you read your Bible and verify that everything written here is true, because that’s what we’re looking for, right? Then it’s decision making time. Now that you have the truth… what are you going to do with it?