Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Can A Person Be Saved Through General Revelation?







What Happens To Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus?

Question:
What happens to those who have never heard about Jesus? Can a person be saved through general revelation? How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?

Answer :
Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

What has changed through the ages, is it the content of a believer's faith? By no means. Content has been the same , it is the same Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). God had this responsibility of conveying the one message which was fixed and predetermined by Him to convey to every human on the planet from the beginning to the end, that is, how Christ's shedding of His blood and death and the succeeding resurrection would justify all humans for eternity ahead (1 Peter 1:19-20). But the way this core message has been expressed to people by God through different ways to different people, and the package with which the contents of the Gospel has been covered and wrapped was by faith, is by faith and will forever be by faith (Heb 11:1, 6). The requirement for salvation has always been faith and the object of one's faith for salvation has always been God.

Today, we look back, believing that He has already taken care of our sins on the cross (John 3:16; Hebrews 9:28). Before Jesus time on earth people looked forward to His coming, through which they were saved (Isa 53:1, 5). During Jesus time people looked to Him for salvation (John 8:12).

One need not know the full content to be saved, because we see that Peter who heard about Jesus all through His time of ministry on earth, began to rebuke Jesus when He said that he has to go to the cross and by the hands of others have to die to fulfill God's salvation for humanity (Matt 16:21-22). This shows that God saves not by how much content they understand of the Gospel, but by whether they believe even the smallest content or word that he reveals to them from the Gospel. The Gospel made these people believe that God would take care of their sin problem. They didn't exactly know how He would accomplish that in the beginning of their relationship with God, any more than Adam, Abraham, Moses, or David knew how, but they believed God would reveal fully about it progressively as they would obey him by and by. That is faith.

How were people saved before Jesus died for our sins?

To Adam God proclaimed in a nut shell the Gospel by saying before him to the Devil in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Immediately Adam believed and expressed his faith in naming Eve as "the mother of all living" (Gen 3:20). Eve believed it too and therefore accepted that name. Immediately God symbolically responded by killing an animal and made tunics of skin to clothe with salvation.

To Abraham God lured him with a promise by saying, "“Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3). Paul the great apostle by Divine inspiration said, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying,“In you all the nations shall be blessed.”" (Gal 3:8). So we know that God preached the Gospel to Abraham even 2000 years before Jesus came to this earth.

Humans never sought God by their natural instinct, rather God told that, "“10... There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”" (Rom 3:10-12). What did God do for humans who were seeking to run away from God seeing the light that is in Him (John 3:9-20)? God did not condemn humanity for its evil, but then he sought humanity to come back to Him through Jesus Christ. God sought all men that is why Jesus said that he came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Now God has disseminated all the will of God and the complete truth of the Gospel to all nations, as the writer to the Hebrews says, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2). So what do we learn from the above, Jesus has revealed 2000 years ago itself all that God wanted to reveal so that our faith may be full and secure like never before in the history. Today the foundation of our faith starts with the birth, death on the Cross, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for us (1 Cor 15:3-4). The object of our faith is God who raised the dead Jesus to life, will also raise us to everlasting life now and in the future.

Can people get saved without hearing the Gospel for the last 2000 years? By no means this is possible. Clearly Luke revealed the fact in Acts 4:12 saying, "Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one, which is Jesus Christ." That is why when a godly man named Cornelius, a centurion by profession, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the poor people and prayed to God always wanted to go further in relationship with God, God miraculously through an angel directed Peter the apostle to go to his house and preach the Gospel so that he could get saved along with his household (Acts 10:1-2, 3-4, 5-8). Finally only when the gospel was preached, the household of Cornelius was saved and filled with the Spirit. God uses all men by all means at all times and at all places to spread the message of the gospel to everyone in this planet. Therefore Paul the apostle declares, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom 10:14). Does this means that God is limited by men in spreading the Gospel, by no means. But rather God will not without man, man cannot without God. That is what Paul the apostle emphasizes here. If there is no other human way to reach the people with the gospel, God can even use dreams and visions and angelic means to make it reach the needy heart (Job 33:14-18; Rev 14:6-11).

What happens to those who have never heard about Jesus? This question should be asked in the reverse way asking ourselves, is God committed to reach the people who are seeking Him with the Gospel? Absolutely yes, that is why God reached Cornelius through an angel. God's word assures us, "If you will seek Me and search for Me with all your heart, you will find me." (Jer 29:13, Paraphrased). That puts the ball in the court of all humans to seek God to get saved and God assures that all who will seek Him will find Him no matter what age they lived in or will live.

Still further the Bible says that God has revealed to all humans the knowledge of God through the following ways,

1) NATURAL REVELATION : The Psalmist David who lived close to the nature as a shepherd boy, looked up and down and everywhere and exclaimed, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." (Psalms 19:1-4). To all the world who see its creation, there is a evidence for the existence of God. So every humans who lives day in and day out seeing the nature around him, is indebted to call on God who has given such a beautiful things for a good life to be lived.

2) CONSCIENCE REVELATION : Paul the great apostle says, " 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." (Rom 2:14-16). In other words, according to God all humans have God given conscience that bears witness of right and wrong, are therefore accountable to God in the judgment day and nobody in all the world cannot tell or accuse God of saying that they did not know the right and wrong things of life.

3) INNATE REVELATION : Paul also reveals, "20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Rom 1:20-21). In other words, God says since the beginning of the humans on earth to the end, all are made by God to understand and clearly see His invisible attributes, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse to say to God that they didn't know Him, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God which is their fault of a non-seeking heart towards God to get saved and be in relationship with Him. For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God (Eccl 2:26).

4) HEARTFELT REVELATION : The Bible also reveals that God is known within the hearts of people, i.e. by the very manufacturer's revelation of Himself and His signature within human life already by which we cannot deny His existence (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In other words, He has put eternity in their hearts [i.e. the very feeling that their life is going to continue without end in which they have to given an account to God], except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. What is already revealed within all humans is more than an evidence for the existence of God and for seeking Him with their whole heart to find Him and be saved. People want to make their own god and worship it because they do not want to be accountable to the real God who created them for His own Glory and pleasure alone. Every person is responsible for the amount of revelation that has been revealed to them by God. If they reject that which God has revealed, God lets these men choose hell in being condemned for their own choice to reject God. God is just and righteous in letting people be condemned for their own choice.

Can a person be saved through general revelation? The answer is, clearly the general revelation is more than enough to make us seek God, but it cannot lead a person to salvation which comes only through the revelation of the gospel by faith in God, further with more and more seeking with our whole heart which this way of life leads to a eternal friendship with God forever which is true salvation (John 17:3).

Thus we are motivated by the general revelation to go further in leading people to salvation, so every believer is called to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). If not us who will?, if not now when we will! Arise and preach the gospel in all the world and teach the word to make disciples of all nations. That is our very profession to fulfill our assignment in this world before we leave this world to meet God and be with Him forever and ever joyfully.

If it were not for God's grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32). Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” If any human seeks God, He will reveal Himself to them. So I conclude that no humans in any generation can ever say to God, that they have not known Him because of lack of revelation, but it is only due to their lack of seeking that they have not found God in this life and were not saved in the life to come.

The basic revelation of God in the New Testament reveals that "24 "He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn't live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can't serve His needs for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need. 26 From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries. 27 "His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him though He is not far from any one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are His offspring.'" (Acts 17:24-28, NLT).

Reading the above verses in the right perspective will make anyone understand this righteous God in the right way, that is, no sinful human who ever lived from the beginning to the end of time will ever be able to tell to God that He is unjust in judging them to hell fire, because God has purposefully created all nations through out the earth with all of the complexities of the life of darkness to make human understand the need for the light of God, then feel it and draw near to Him in their lifetime. Those who have rejected drawing near to God in this earth, how can they ever tell God in their after life that it is not their fault to get saved from sin and live abundantly now and forever, when they have actually wasted all their lifetime on earth which was given by God to seek Him and find Him before they could die. So the question of whether a human has heard the gospel is irrelevant for Him to get saved, the question will always be, whether a person has sought God with their whole heart in this life?, if yes then automatically they would have got saved irrespective of whether they were born in the beginning of time or the end of time or the in-between.

Much Blessings.....




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