God our Savior . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
–1 Timothy 2:3-4
The Bible says salvation is only through faith in Jesus. Then what good is natural revelation? Charles Ryrie said, “Natural revelation is not sufficient to save a person, but it is sufficient if rejected to condemn a person.” If somebody receives this revelation by God, he’s not automatically saved, but if he rejects that revelation of God, he is condemned. He is without excuse. You see, natural revelation is a test to see if somebody really wants to know God or not. If they reject that knowledge of the true God and create their own god, then they’re not really interested in knowing God. But if they are receptive to that natural revelation, then that leads to the fourth truth that we need to understand about this complex issue, and that is this: anyone who wants further knowledge of God will receive it.
God’s desire is to save as many people as possible, not as few people as possible. Yes, God would be just in sending everybody to hell, but that’s not His desire. He wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth. For example, Ezekiel 33:11 says, “‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.’” In Luke 19:10, Jesus said about Himself, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus’s whole reason for coming was not to condemn people but to seek them and save them. And 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “God our Savior . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” God desires that all people be saved. He’s not saying all people will be saved, but His desire is that all people be saved. But the only way they can be saved is by coming to a knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ.
So what about those who have never heard about Jesus? The woman who has never read a Bible, has never heard the name of Jesus Christ, what about her eternal fate? If she sees the evidence of God’s creation through natural revelation and rejects that knowledge, creates her own god to follow, Paul said she is without excuse. But, if she receives that knowledge, if she says, “There must be someone greater than I, and I want to know that somebody,” if she responds that way, you can be certain that God will send her further revelation of the truth of Jesus Christ.
How can I say that? How can I say these people who are beyond the reach of any missionary are going to hear the gospel? Because I read the Bible. I can tell you instance after instance where God did that. For example, in Acts 10, Cornelius, the Roman centurion, wanted to know the one true God. He worshipped the God of Israel, prayed to him regularly, gave money to the poor. Now that should be enough by most people’s standards to be saved, but not in God’s economy. Cornelius needed to hear about Jesus. So what did God do? He miraculously sent Peter to Cornelius’s household to preach the gospel, and he and his family were saved.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What about Those Who Have Never Heard about Jesus?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.