Future Of Those Who Have Not Heard The Gospel

The Bible does not give detailed teaching about what will happen after the Great Final Judgement to people who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So it is difficult to be certain exactly how God will judge them. But note the below points:


Saved by God’s grace and mercy through faith in Him


In Old Testament times when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not fully revealed but was only expressed in the Old Testament in seed form, people were saved by God’s unmerited grace and mercy through faith in Him. Such people had not specifically heard of Jesus Christ, His future death and resurrection and the glorious results of these. Note the saving faith of such people did not just involve believing God exists but was associated with turning in their hearts from what they knew God regarded as evil.


They knew His will through their consciences and His revelations


Those in Old Testament times, who were saved by God’s grace through faith knew His will through different means. Prior to the beginning of the writing of the Old Testament, saved believers like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph knew God’s will through their God-given consciences (see Romans 2:12-16) and through His supernatural revelations to them (see Jude 14-15, Genesis 6:9-9:27, 12:1-3, 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:1-21, 17:1-21, 19:1-22, 22:1-18, 32:22-30, 35:1, 37:5-9 and 40:1-41:32).

On humans’ consciences are God’s commands about serving and worshipping only one God, not worshipping idols or images, not committing murder, adultery, stealing and so on. Romans 2:12-16 refers to God’s Law being on the consciences of humans. Conscience also makes all humans aware of their sins and need of God’s forgiveness. For example, read 2 Samuel 24:10.

After the writing of the various Books of the Old Testament, Israelites and non-Israelites, who read or heard these God-inspired Books taught, knew His will through His written Word.


Varying levels of accountability to God


God holds people responsible to the degree they know His will. In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus said: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” In John 15:22, Christ stated: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

Saved on the basis of Jesus’ future death


Those like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph who had not heard the full revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but were saved by God’s unmerited grace through faith (see Matthew 22:32, Romans 4:1-22, Hebrews 11:4-22 and 2 Peter 2:7-8), were saved on the basis of Jesus’ eternally planned death and resurrection. Acts 2:23, 4:27-28, 1 Peter 1:18-20 and Revelation 13:8 shows Jesus’ saving death was predetermined by God prior to the foundation of the world.


Jesus said they are thieves and robbers


In John 10:7-9, Christ referred to the teachers and founders of other ancient religions as “thieves and robbers”: “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.’” Throughout the written Word of God, He reveals all other religions are false and opposed by Him. For example, read Deuteronomy 4:15-23, 13:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 10:20-22. So no human will ever be saved by following pagan religions.


Not one person is ever saved by good works


Not one person throughout history has ever been eternally saved through good works (see Romans 3:10-20, Galatians 2:16, 3:10-11, 3:21, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:4-5). Instead they have been saved and declared right with God only by His grace through faith. This saving faith is also accompanied by repentance in the heart in relation to known sins and results in Holy Spirit-empowered good works. Such good works are a fruit of receiving God’s saving grace and not a cause of it. So because someone is living what seems to be outwardly a good life, does not mean they are right with God.


Only God can perfectly judge


Only God can perfectly judge who among those who have never heard the Gospel are right with Him by grace through faith. Therefore it is very foolish assuming that someone you know who has never heard the Gospel, who believes God exists and lives a generally good life is eternally saved by Him.

You may wrongly think that it is better to not share the Gospel with such a person in case they reject it and end up eternally condemned in hell. But the truth is if they are those who have never heard the Gospel but are saved by God’s grace through faith, they will certainly be willing to receive the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ if they hear it. Examples of such people are the Roman centurion in Luke 7, Cornelius – another Roman centurion and his relatives and close friends, Lydia of Thyatira and some God-fearing Greeks (see Luke 7:1-10, Acts 10:1-48, 16:13-15 and 17:4).



A clear sign


A clear sign someone who has never heard the Gospel has a saving relationship with God the Father, is they will be willing to receive God the Son after hearing the Gospel. 1 John 2:23 emphasises: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either, he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

Someone who continually rejects receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour after hearing the Gospel, never had a saving relationship with God the Father beforehand. Jesus Christ is the light (see John 1:6-9). In John 3:19-21, Jesus said: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 12:44-45 records: “Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.’” In John 14:24, Jesus said: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” In Luke 10:16 Christ stressed: “…he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”


Bible Study Question


1.       How will God judge those who have never heard the Gospel?



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