Day 44: Will they go to hell?
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.Romans 1: 18-20
We’ve gotten into some deep territory these last two days. So deep, in fact, that I didn’t even get to finish my post from yesterday. . .hopefully I’ll get to come back to it.
Anyway, the serious business. I’ve struggled at times with some deep spiritual doubts. One doubt that always crept up on me was about people how may never have had the chance to hear about Jesus. Or maybe they were simply born into a society that worshipped another god entirely.
Why should people like that go to hell when it’s not their fault?
WEll, first of all, that’s a completely backward way of looking at it. Sin is our fault. our collective fault, and we all deserve death because of it. We deserve to be eternally separated from the God who created us (hell is literally a separation from God). So, I just mean to say that my thinking was backward.
The verses from Romans today actually should give us great hope if we care about people in faraway lands or people born into another religion. Yes’ Paul talks about the wrath of God coming down on the people that reject him, and we need to take that seriously. That is the gravity of the material we are dealing with. This is not some fluff just to happy at the end of our daily devotional. This is the difference between eternal bliss and eternal separation from God. . .eternal damnation.
So where in the world is the hope today? Look at the verses again! “God has made it plain to them”!!!!! Read that again! “God has made it [what may be known about God] plain to them.” God has revealed his invisible qualities to all people. Therefore all people are actually culpable to bow down before God. Even someone away on a rmote island has known the invisible qualities of God, because he has made them known to such people.
Now does that mean that everyone in a far away land suddenly realizes all things about Jesus and they pray a prayer of repentance and then they’re saved? No, I don’t think so. I think it has more to do with general grace and they’re response to it. Will they put their faith in Jesus after God makes his invisible qualities known to them? (And what does that “faith” look like, considering they may never actually know the name Jesus) I don’t know all these things, and I think it’s clear that simply responding to the invisible qualities of God does not carry the same benefits or blessings as being a disciple of God does. And that’s why Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations.
But take heart, friends, God has not forgotten about these remote brothers and sisters. I’d encourage you to pray today that God will make himself–his eternal power and divine nature–known to them.