If conscious belief in Jesus is required for salvation, how is that fair to those who have never heard the gospel?

Short Answer: God will make sure that those who would repent will have the opportunity.

There is not a single person who has lived on this planet that did not have an opportunity to see God. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Then in Romans 1:18-20 we see “men that suppress the truth in unrighteousness” and that, “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” We learn from scripture that God reveals himself to all people through his creation and this leaves all people without an excuse. We are all responsible to God because He has shown himself to us.

Now, it is true that conscious belief in Jesus is required for salvation. This is taught in John 14:6 and Romans 10:9-10. What we learn about God through creation is not enough to give us salvation since we are only saved through Jesus, yet it is enough to convict us because we should desire to know more about God from what we see in creation. Dr. Clay Jones says, “God gives enough evidence so those that want to believe will have their beliefs justified, but not enough so those that don’t want to believe will have to give loyalty.” John Feinberg says it this way, “Those who don’t get that information don’t fail to get it because it was impossible to attain it; rather, they fail to get it because they reject even the truth they have and don’t seek further truth about God.”[1] God will give further revelation to those that see Him from what they see in creation and seek further truth.

When you realize that depth of human depravity, it is clear that none of us deserve to be saved.  “God’s Word clearly says that all have sinned and so deserve punishment. So, what is fair, just, deserved is condemnation and punishment for all of us.”[2] What we see is that it is only because God is forgiving and gracious that anyone is able to enter into Heaven. God is not under any obligation to save us from our sin. So is it fair to allow those who never hear the gospel to go to hell? “Actually, it isn’t fair, and it isn’t unfair either; it’s gracious that God saves any of us.”[3] Instead of asking if it is fair, we should be thankful that any of us have the opportunity to spend an eternity with God and rest assured that God will make sure that those who would repent will have the opportunity.

This is one part in a series of posts on why God allows evil.  Look below to read previous posts that you missed and see what is coming up. Each section will be posted weekly in the order they appear below.

  1. Why do people suffer for a sin Adam committed long ago?
  2. Why does God let a child die?
  3. How might it be fair that God ordered the killing of Canaanite children?
  4. Why do bad things happen to good people?
  5. Why is eternal punishment fair?
  6. If conscious belief in Jesus is required for salvation, how is that fair to those who have never heard the gospel?
  7. Free will isn’t so valuable for God to permit so much suffering.
  8. What good is the suffering I endure?
  9. How will Heaven mitigate our suffering on earth?
  10. Why does God allow evil?

[1] John S. Feinberg, The Many Faces of Evil (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2004), 437.

[2] Feinberg, The Many Faces of Evil, 439.

[3] Ibid.

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