It’s Monday Grace!
A man once told me that a good portion of his ministry consisted of taking away people’s excuses. If someone in the church was angry, he would talk with them. As they raised issues, he would apologize and offer to make changes. By doing that, he took away the excuses that allowed their animosity and bad behavior. It didn’t take long until the real issues surfaced or the people went away satisfied.
I wasn’t too sure I liked that way of handling objections until I realized that it was also the way the Lord dealt with people. His patience and kindness walk any honest questioner to the truth. Dishonest questioners, those who just want to resist, are exposed on the way.
It is challenging to think that there are those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus and will still suffer eternal separation. It doesn’t seem fair. But the reason it doesn’t seem fair is because it isn’t true. The idea is a false argument. Even though we might not see how they have enough information, the Lord makes it clear that they are without excuse.
“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,” (Romans 1:20, NKJV)
I could argue that the young person in that faraway land who has never heard of Jesus hasn’t had a chance, but I don’t really know what chance he has had, do I? I don’t know what questions his heart has asked or how the Lord has revealed truth to him. I cannot be the judge of God when God says that the young person has had enough information to draw him to salvation.
The Lord made a promise through Jeremiah:
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV)
Those who seek the Lord will find Him. They will find enough truth to come to Him. I am not the judge of how that should be done. All I can do is trust that the Lord does not lie.
If the pagan in a far-off country and culture has no excuse, how much less do those who live in the western world where the gospel has been shared openly? How little excuse is there for those who have come to church and have Bibles available?
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22, NKJV)
I believe we are to pray for those who are lost. I believe we are to share the good news with those who are broken. I believe we are to live out our salvation in a way that touches the hearts of those who are still apart from the Lord. But, ultimately, their rejection of Him is without excuse.
Many preachers and teachers burden their people wrongly when they suggest that some will spend eternity in hell because “you didn’t tell them.” We have been made to feel guilty, somehow responsible, for the unbelief of our families or friends or neighbors. If we just worked harder, these preachers say, then maybe they would have believed. “But you failed.”
Listen: those who die apart from Christ have no excuse. No one will stand before God and rightly say they had no chance. I will grant that some live in a Christian culture and find faith to come easily. I will also expect others to grant that many who grow up in a Christian culture, even homes of faith, still choose to live apart from the Lord who loves them. The abundance of opportunity may seem to us like an advantage, but that does not mean others have an excuse.
I have heard of Bibles falling out of airplanes accidentally to be discovered by people who read them and came to faith. I have heard of missionaries who get to remote villages to find believers already there. I have heard of people in closed countries who have been visited by angels or the Lord Himself. Frankly, I think we need to trust in God’s love for the lost. He will get His message to them.
Put away your guilt. Unbelief lies at the feet of the unbeliever, not you. At the same time, listen to the leading of the Spirit. It may be that a word that comes through you will be the trigger that opens someone’s heart to Jesus.