Does Anyone Have an Excuse Before God?
One of the most common arguments against the gospel is the question: “What about those who have never heard about Jesus?” When we tell people that the Bible says that the only way to have forgiveness of sin and eternal life is through Jesus Christ, one of the first objections is that there are many people who have never heard about Jesus. Would God condemn someone to hell who has never heard about Jesus? Of course, if you accept the premise that people who never heard about Jesus would not go to hell, you could argue that we are better off not telling anyone about Jesus because once we tell them, then they are accountable to God. If we keep our mouth shut, then they would get a “free pass” into heaven. Of course this doesn’t make sense.
In Romans 1:18-22 Paul answers this question rather clearly. Those verses are here: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributesare clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Paul clearly states that all men are without excuse. God has revealed Himself to all men in creation. The problem is not that men do not know about God but rather that men have suppressed the truth about God. In verse 18 Paul says that men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. You can’t suppress the truth if you don’t know the truth. Verse 21 says that these men knew God, but did not glorify Him. God loves all mankind. God reveals Himself to the businessman in New York as well as the tribal member in New Guinea. When a person begins to respond to God’s revelation of Himself, then God will reveal who Jesus is. God will get the truth about Jesus Christ to anyone who draws near to Him. God can do this through the written word, a vision, a dream or however God desires. In our country, we have such incredible access to the word of God through print, TV, internet, radio, etc… and I believe this is the primary way God reveals Himself to us. In a place like India or Malaysia, God may be more likely to use a dream or a vision to reveal Himself, as access to the word of God through a Bible or a broadcast is limited. It is up to God.
The Bible is clear that all men are sinners and because of that sin stand condemned before a righteous, holy God. God doesn’t really condemn anyone to hell, they condemn themselves because of their sin. Our great God offers forgiveness through Jesus and only through Jesus. It is up to God to get the message out and fortunately for us, He has chosen us to help. We have a mandate to share the good news of Jesus however and wherever we can. But no one is without excuse. God will deliver the truth about Jesus to them as only He can. Let’s pray that we can be used by God to share the gospel with someone across the street or someone across the globe!
Have an absolutely blessed day!
…and we have to remember that we have the obligation to share the good news, but it’s God’s perfect timing, not ours, that the person will be convicted…