There are comparatively few in the church who are doing what Jesus said we should do: to take the gospel to all mankind. The question is, Why? Surveys show that many, especially among our college-age young people, believe that those who have never heard the gospel will be saved in the judgment, because they did not know God's commands. Based on this reasoning, the conclusion would be that if people are not lost in their state of ignorance, we should not take the gospel to them because if we do teach them and they reject the message of salvation, they will have no excuse and will stand condemned in the day of judgment! Obviously, those who believe that the masses are safe, having never heard the gospel, will not be making any great effort to take the Lord's message of salvation to them. And it is true that if they will be eternally saved because of their ignorance, then we are doing them a great disservice to teach them. While the foregoing may sound logical, it is not biblical. The fact is that people are not lost because of whether or not they have heard the gospel; they are lost because they are in sin and are sinners. Since they are sinners, if they die without the forgiveness of their sins they will be lost for all eternity. But how can they be saved? They must be taught the gospel, that Jesus Christ can save them, but even after hearing His will they must for us to take the gospel to them.
If man could have been saved in ignorance, why did the Lord have to die on the cross to pay the price for salvation and to give the hope of eternal life? Ignorance, in such a case, would become a more powerful savior than the blood of Christ! But no one can be saved in sin, and therefore no one can be saved in ignorance. And, further, if we fail to take the gospel to those who do not know God, not only will they be lost because of their ignorance of how to be saved from their sin but we will also be lost because we failed to obey God, ourselves. On the other hand, if we take the gospel to them and they are lost because they failed or refused to obey it, we will besaved because we did what Jesus asked us to do.
We must remember also that the over-all world may be more knowledgeable then we realize. For instance, the Bible has been translated into most of the world's language's and copies have been circulated all over the globe. Then the Catholic and Protestant churches have sent their missionaries around the world, making the masses at least aware that there is a God and a Savior, and that the Bible is their message. Of course, much teaching has also been done by the church of Christ, through on-site mission efforts and through correspondence work. The church exists in the major countries, and even in the major cities and countless minor cities of the world Add to these factors the literature distribution, radio and TV programs, and numerous other means of proclaiming the teaching of Christ, and you can see that the Bible message whether in part, by error, or in its full truth, has surely reached the world to the point that most of the population should have been awaken to the fact that man is lost and needs a savior. How much God, then, holds the hearer responsible for pursuing a growing knowledge of the truths that have been initially brought to him, only the judgment will reveal. But certainly it is our responsibility to take God's word and go on to finish the job by proclaiming the gospel of salvation to one and all. Only the blood of Christ - not ignorance - can save a soul from sin.
by J C Choate
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