Monday, April 8, 2013

What about those who haven't heard?

This question has bothered me sometimes - what about the people in the world who have never had the chance to hear about Jesus? What happens to them?

But it doesn't bother me for the reasons you might think. It's not because I worry God is being unfair to them. I know in my heart that this is not some conundrum that God forgot to take into account, and that He has an answer to it.

It bothers me because I don't know how to give an answer to other people.

It doesn't sound very satisfying to say, "It'll be alright, God's got it under control" if it is something that someone is burdened by. But I do sometimes want to say, "Do you think God didn't considered this?"

One factor I think is worth mentioning is that even for people who have heard about Jesus, it isn't just the act of hearing someone talk about Him that brings people, it is the Spirit that draws people and reveals Himself to them.

So I feel confident that when God wants to He is perfectly capable of revealing Himself to people in a myriad of ways. He is not limited by our speech, though he does want to use us.

But when I read John 15:22, I had another thought.

Jesus said, "If I had not spoken within their hearing, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for ignoring My voice."

Perhaps there is an answer in that - that those who have never heard about Jesus are not guilty of sin because they haven't had the choice yet.

Another thing that bothers me about this question, other than not having a concise answer, and other than people underestimating God, is that I feel hidden within the question is a misunderstanding of why we share the gospel. People worry about whether or not these people will go to heaven if they die unconverted. I feel there is a terribly underwhelming amount of concern, love and Christ-like compassion for people's lives while they are still physically living.

Because sharing the good news is not simply to hand out tickets to heaven to those poor 'uncivilised' heathens. It's so that people's lives will transformed now, so they know God now, and live in His love now.

It's not about getting out and imposing our western brand of religion on to every culture we meet, but about introducing people to the God who created them, and Jesus who died and rose so they could have life and freedom in Him.

And while I'm sure there are lot more people who need to be getting out there and sharing Jesus with people,  is it bad that I sometimes feel God would be better revealed to some people through the wonder of nature, through the miracle of the life around them, rather than through our words and religion?

Clearly, I still don't have a concise answer to this big question. 

But I trust, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has the answer and cares about His children.

Perhaps the real question is, What are we doing with our faith?

It is those of us who have heard His voice I am more worried about. What's our excuse?

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