As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22
Are those who never hear the gospel irretrievably lost?
If the gospel is meant to be good news, then God’s goodness endures continually and forever. When Christ died for all humanity—every person is embraced and represented by Christ and included with Christ in His death and resurrection. That is the finished work of the Cross. And because it is an already accomplished reality—we are fully assured that nothing stands in our way of being fully accepted by God.
Our sins are not just forgiven through Jesus but they are taken away by Jesus. (1 John 3:5) Every barrier of sin, which excludes us from God’s presence and breaks our relationship with God, has already been removed. This is what John the Baptist says about Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) And Jesus, in His High Priestly Prayer, asserts, “I have finished the work you have given me to do”. (John 17:4) That is, Jesus accomplished His mission by bringing salvation to everyone.
Consider these words of the Apostle Paul:
“That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1Timothy 4:9-11)
Paul tells us God is the Saviour of all people and ESPECIALLY (NOT EXCLUSIVELY) of those who believe. According to 1Timothy 2:1-6 it is God’s will for all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth—though not everyone will be saved at the same time.
Salvation belongs to God and God has made it accessible to all because everyone is incorporated into the finished work of Christ on the cross and His Great Commission. If God took all that trouble to save sinners and if it is His will that no one will perish, we can certainly trust God to do the right thing for everyone.
God will certainly not leave Himself without witness (Act 14:17) and that means He will somehow work in wondrous ways to reveal Himself to those who have yet to hear the gospel (cf. Acts 8:35-37; Acts 10:3-4; Romans 1:19-20). No one is denied salvation because of their sin but because of their unbelief and rejection of God’s gift of salvation. All the more, this should encourage us to obey Jesus’ commandment to preach the gospel to all peoples so that they can rest on what Jesus did for them on the Cross on this side of heaven.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.