Sunday, August 9, 2009

Question on Condemnation

Today at Harvest, Matt answered the question "How could God love everyone and not let everyone into heaven?" The short answer is that on judgment day either we will say to God, "Thy will be done," or God will say to us, "Thy will be done." Essentially, we choose our own destiny.

One question that's come up in discussing this topic with my sister-in-law, Zondra, is this: How could people who have never heard the gospel (and would be held accountable for what they know - in this case, through "natural/moral law") be saved when Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," (John 14:6).

In looking further at Romans 2, we uncovered that Paul describes God's judgment based on (1) truth, (2) deeds, and (3) the light a person has. Specifically, Romans 2:12-15 talks about people who have not been exposed to the Law but live according to the Law written on their hearts. Paul says that "God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus," (Romans 2:16).

The truth that comes from this is that not everyone will know Jesus, but the only way God can look at anyone without judgment is through Jesus' atoning work on the cross. Here God does not see us (and ultimately our sin) and condemn us to death, but He sees Jesus - who was sinless - in our place (for those people who lived lives according to the instinctive Law within them). The result is that people who have never heard the gospel can be saved, but only if God "looks on Him and pardons me," to quote the old hymn.

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