That’s a question that has come up often over the years. It’s a good question. It was a question that I had in my mind at one time. Often the person is trying to reconcile the character of God in his mind. Sometimes they question their need for a Savior; “If some people in a faraway land gets a free ride to heaven because they never heard, then why do I need a Savior?
But the Bible tells the reader, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) And that there is only one way to the Father through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Five Ways God reaches people
First of all, creation testifies to the existence of God. His Divine nature and power are revealed in the creation. Because of this, every person is without excuse of knowing that God exists; “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” (Rom. 1:20).
Secondly, the Spirit of God ministers to the unbelieving world. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin as the problem, judgment as the consequence, and the righteousness of Jesus as the answer; “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…” (John 16:8).
Thirdly, Jesus said that if He was lifted up (on the cross), He would draw all to Himself: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:32, 33). He doesn’t force people to come, but He does draw them.
Fourthly, God uses messengers or as we call them missionaries. For example, the Spirit prevented Paul from going to Asia and directed him to go to Macedonia. There he met a woman named Lydia who worshipped God. The Lord open her eyes to the gospel and she believed. “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14-15).
Fifthly, the Lord always uses His word as specific revelation either written or verbally. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
God responds to those who respond to His light
Not everyone in the world has a copy of the Bible available to them. But if a person is responding to the light that they do have, God will ultimately provide them with what they need, just like Lydia.
In a gospel tract, From the Jungle to Jesus, Dikkie Ekiai tells his story how he came out of tribal paganism living in Borneo to faith in Jesus Christ. It didn’t happen overnight. But it did start with a search for truth inspired by observing the intricacies of a spider web. He wrote, “One day while walking through the jungle I came across a big spider weaving its web. Observing how this spider could weave a perfect symmetry and angle every time, I concluded that someone must have designed this creature with its unique ability.” Read more about his journey to faith.
A friend of mine ministers in a county jail. One day he encountered a prisoner who had read the graffiti in a cell that said, “Trust in God”. He told my friend that little phrase caused him to pray for the first time in his life. His seeking prayer was answered for God sent my friend to Him to share the grace of the Lord Jesus with him.
God is not limited
We cannot limit the arm of God. The question doesn’t challenge the character of God. He can reach anyone anywhere in the world. But it does require a seeking and humble heart to respond to the light that they have. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Everyone must come to God on His terms. He has given every one the opportunity. He is a just and righteous Ruler. Some have more opportunity to hear about Christ than others. But even many of those reject that truth because of their desire to remain in darkness (John 3:18). Like the religious rulers of Israel, many are not willing to come to Him to be saved (John 5:40).
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