Who among us would be willing to admit that they really, really want to believe in a Jesus who says, “If you have never heard of me – no matter how kind and loving and generous you are – if you have never heard of me, I will see to it that you fry in hell forever”?
I do, in fact, believe in Him; that He is the Son of God. But I do not believe His Word reveals Him to have said any such thing — either in His life here, or through the writers inspired by His Holy Spirit.
Yet many believers insist that this is what He means … placing an unbearably heavy burden on both the hearer to speak and convert, and upon the willing listener to hear where no one has spoken. What He says is that all come to the Father by Him, will be judged by Them, according to what they have said and done.
Belief in Him is never listed as some sort of prerequisite for those who have never heard of Him. It is, however, described as the naturally-expected response of those who have.
And for the believer, there is a promise of reconciliation with God and unending life that is never described as an impossibility for those who have never heard. That’s where the importance of the gospel resides: in transforming what’s possible to what’s promised.
I don’t know of anyone who would not exchange the possibility of receiving a treasure of immeasurable value for the promise of receiving it from Someone who lives and believes in them to spend it wisely and well.
Once they hear about it.
I think it’s time to put to rest the twin but oppositional
misconceptions lies of universalism and the damnation of all souls who have never heard of Him.
One leads to an unhealthy disregard for the importance of living to please God and win others’ hearts with Christ’s love.
The other leads to an unhealthy arrogance about one’s salvation and an unhealthy presentation of God’s nature as uncaring toward those He does not choose to bless with messengers of His promise.
Both can sabotage the purity of that message as stated in scripture and its effectiveness, and I am convinced that Satan likes nothing better than doing so by distorting the Word through extremes of interpretation arrived at by great flaws of logic.
63 thoughts on “Possibility vs. Promise”
Jesus said in the Bible in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father but through Me.”
That is exactly what He said. No more. No less.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Thats either true or its not. No one comes to the Father, except through Me. No one kb, means NO ONE, all must come through Christ. Believing in Him would be a part of that. If you never hear, you would be apart of the NO ONE. Would you say the JUST live by faith. Hebrews 10 says they do. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Heb. 11:6. Jesus said, “those who confess me before men, I will confess before My Father.” If Jesus is TRUTH, and He is, when He says something, ie the truth, then the opposite would then also be truth. Those who do not confess Me before men, I will NOT confess them before the Father. With faith it is possible to please Him. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”
He who believes not, will not be baptized and therefore will NOT be saved. 1 Peter 2:7 ” “therefore, to you who BELIEVE, He is precious, but to those who are DISOBEDIENT……” Here Peter is saying those who do not believe are disobedient. Those who have never heard cannot believe, therefore they are disobedient. The commands to believe in and obey Christ, are for ALL men. If your theory were correct, we would need to ask, have you ever heard about Jesus? if they say no, you would have to tell them, their just as well off not ever knowing. Yes kb, any soul who has never heard cannot believe, therefore they cannot live by faith and their souls will be lost. Christ came to seek and save the lost, Who was lost? ALL men. If your theory were correct, what a disservice Christ paid to all mankind. He died and shed His blood because man needed redemption. What your saying without saying it is, not all men need the blood of Christ. Did Christ die in vain? I think not!
I’ve already plowed this field with you, Jeff; I don’t plan to do it again. (https://keithbrenton.com/2011/03/08/except-through-me/)
Romans 1 also says that God has revealed himself through what has been made so that men are without excuse. It is altogether possible to believe in a Creator whose Name one does not know. I suggest it’s likely that millions do. They live their lives by their faith in this unknown God. Some are attracted to Him by other good people who who speak to them of Christ. Others are repulsed by Christians who make a habit of damning everyone they wish to damn.
What you continue to inaccurately accuse me of – saying that everyone will be saved and therefore it would be a favor to them not to tell them of Christ so they cannot refuse Him – absolutely contradicts what I have written in this post in before.
But you keep whaling away at the straw man, brother, and keep trying to convert people to believe in a God who damns anyone who doesn’t know His name … and you let me know how that’s working for you.
Either Jesus died for all (Romans 6:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14), or He didn’t. I say He did.
kb, “These people who live their lives by their faith in this unknown God.” May I quote your least favorite passage, Romans 10:17 “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” The opposite of that which would also be true, faith does not come by not hearing God’s word. You have stated before that there are other ways to gain faith. I would say not according to scripture. God has revealed Himself and man is indeed without excuse. Simply looking into the heavens will not give us faith, it will cause us to question. Insert ( “my people are distroyed for the lack of knowledge,” here) Our faith in God comes by hearing and believing His word. Our faith is based on what he has told us. What you may call faith, that comes from any other source would not be the kind of faith God wants us to have. It would only be a faith based on man’s thinkso’s. And that will never save you. You said, these people who live their lives by their faith in a unknown god, may be attracked to Him by other good people. We can and should be good examples to others, but they cannot live by faith until they hear God’s word, read it for themselves or hear it proclaimed and respond to it and apply it to their lives. Acts 17: 30,31 “truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands ALL men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” All men means all men. I suppose in your mind, Christ, through the Holy Spirit and the pen of Luke just repulsed many! kb, It was you who stated, “I think its time to put to rest the twin but oppositional LIES……the damnation of all souls who have never heard if Him.” You must be calling God’s word a lie, because that is what it teaches. If people don’t even know His name, how can they believe in Him. If they don’t believe in Him, they will perish. If that repulses someone, so beit. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” And yes kb, Christ did die for all. But that fact alone will not save you. We are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH. And kb, I can’t damn anyone, but God’s word surely does.
“Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” Actually, this is a cherished passage for me. But scripture nowhere says “Faith does not come by not hearing God’s word.” You said that. It is a conclusion that you have drawn, Jeff; not something scripture says.
Christ will judge all men. And I believe that is exactly what He is saying when He says “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” He decides — they decide — not us.
Can you believe in the Commissioner of Baseball even if you don’t know his name or anything about him? Well of course you can; there has to be one, right?
kb, you don’t want to replow the same field, why then do YOU keep bringing it up?
Because there are other folks who are willing to listen to what the Bible says and understand what it does not say.
Jesus also said
Mat 5:3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If you look you will see only one other version, had the audacity to attempt to explain what Jesus had said.
NLT – Mat 5:3 – “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,* for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
If this were true all we would need to do is remain poor. But this is not what is meant here.
If you notice this, the first of the beatitudes and the last are the only two which mentions the kingdom of heaven. and the first does not restrict its self to “little children” it simply said “the poor in spirit”, could this include those who have not heard, those who could not understand, and those who were not of accountable age. I believe it could, and did.
No those who have not heard will not suffer the wrath of God, because they belong to “the poor in spirit” the one and only exemption given in the beatitudes .
Jeff, where in Scripture does God limit the meaning of “word of God” in Romans 10:17 to the Christian Bible?
I confidently assert that the promise Peter proclaimed at Pentecost, the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, still occurs. God reveals Himself to whoever He pleases, however He pleases. Sometimes He even uses missionaries.
Nick, Hebrews, 1:1f ” God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets., has in these last days spoken to us by His Son….” 2 Timothy 3:16 ” ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be COMPLETE, throughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:15 ” Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” To the Thessalonians, 2 Thess 2:15 “Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our episle.” God at one time spoke directly to man, then through holy men the prophets, Christ and the apostles and finally the written word. The Holy Spirit gave power to the apostles, who in turn could lay hands on others. They recieved abilities and the word of God. Only the apostles could transfer this power, last I knew they are all dead. The ones who the apostles laid hands could not transfer anything. These things passed away by the end of the first century. Because, there was no longer a need. The written N.T. was complete. 1 Corinthians 13 informs us these things would come to an end. 2 Timothy 1:13, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words, which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” God has revealed what He wants us to know through His Son. We have what we need. Why do you look for more? Why can’t you just be satisfied with the written word? God does reveal Himself through missionaries, I pray they spread Gods word by using His word as their only guide. The written word (God’s message to man) is spread by man proclaiming it or by people reading it for them selves. God is limited, He is limited by what He has said. If He says one thing and does another, He would be a liar and a respector of persons. God is no liar.
Why do folks who are convinced that God no longer communicates with His children except through His written word assume that He would ever speak anything today that would confluct with it?
In 2 Timothy 3:16, “COMPLETE” describes “man of God,” not “scripture.”
What kind of Father refuses to speak to His children, choosing instead to point them to a manuscript where He has allowed others to record everything He ever intends to say to them?
What kind of Father refuses to speak to His children, choosing instead to point them to a manuscript where He has allowed others to record everything He ever intends to say to them?
Don’t be too sure about that, Laymond! 🙂
kb, God’s word will make a man COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED if followed. God has Given man everything he needs that pertains to Godliness. God does speak, He speaks through His son, who speaks to us through the agency of the written word. Are you saying Hebrews 1 is not true? Why do you have so little faith in in the written revelation? I would suggest that many people like the idea of a personal revelations, because they are to lazy to study to show themselves approved of God. They like personal revelations because what they think they have recieved cannot be discredited. It boils down for them a freedom FROM God’s word.
I have all faith in written scripture, Jeff. I have no interest in freedom away “from” God’s word, but I do have a great interest in freedom in Christ – found in God’s word – “from” the teachings of man, and I have explained why I believe universalism and the doctrine of the damnation of all souls who haven’t heard of God are two of those teachings of men.
Why do you have so little faith in the written word that you feel you must add to it?
If God says one thing and does another, you say that makes Him a liar. How then do you explain all the times in scripture when He said He would do a thing, but prayer changed His mind and He did something else? Do you not believe that God listens to His children? Why do you want to limit God’s communication with us when scripture does not?
Where does scripture say “only the apostles could transfer this power”?
1 Corinthians 13 does indeed say certain gifts would end. Where does scripture say that they have, in fact, ended?
Keith said “In 2 Timothy 3:16, “COMPLETE” describes “man of God,” not “scripture.”
If you read carefully 2 Tim. 3 :16 says ” ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”. You see ” ALL SCRIPTURE” and the purpose of God’s word is “man of God may be COMPLETE, THROUGHLY EQUIPPED” Keith, Jeff ask you this “Are you saying Hebrews 1 is not true? Why do you have so little faith in the written revelation?” Your answer is this “I have all faith in written scripture, Jeff.” Why do you turn the question of Jeff in this? “If God says one thing and does another, you say that makes Him a liar.” How then do you explain all the times in scripture when He said He would do a thing, ( what thing?) but prayer changed His mind and He did something else? Keith, Can you provide the book, chapter and passage? For sure, prayer is a talking with God and his providence is in action , but no more modern revelation is given today. It is written in John 20:31 says “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” and the warning about modern revelations in Gal. 1:8 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. “
“… no more modern revelation is given today.” Again, the burden of proof is on you. Where does scripture say that?
God certainly changed his mind at the prayers of Ahab (1 Kings 21:21-29) and Hezekiah (Isaiah 38. Does that make Him a liar or respecter of persons? When we ask God to lead us in the direction He would have us to go, do we require Him not to speak to us outside of scripture? Do we refuse to hear because we refuse to believe He can or will?
Jeff says that the Bible is all we need and all that God gives us, but the Bible says God gives us His very own Holy Spirit and Jeff and I have argued about that sufficiently. If he doesn’t wish to accept what the Bible says about the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Hebrews 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 2 Timothy 1:7) or God speaking to us (Acts 10:19; 1 Timothy 4:1) and through us (1 Corinthians 2; 12:3) by that Spirit, I am unable to persuade him; Jeff is free to disbelieve what he pleases. In the past, he has tried to object to the fact by saying that because scripture is sufficient, the Holy Spirit would have to reveal something now that would contradict what He has revealed in the scripture. That’s absurd. Just as absurd as God saying one thing and doing another — just as Jeff observes above — in principle. But prayer changes things; it can change God’s immediate intention without changing His ultimate purpose or His plan to achieve it. If we don’t believe that, then praying only because we are commanded to violates the teaching of Matthew 21:22, James 5:15, Mark 11:24.
Scripture is sufficient for the knowledge that all followers need to hear and know; the Spirit is sufficient to reveal the knowledge that individuals need to hear and know.
If He has said He will give us His Spirit and will give us the mind of Christ, then we should believe it, pray for it, accept it and quit turning it down in favor of only part of what He offers just because it is tangible, readable, and sufficient for some purposes but not all.
Scripture does not say that it is all that God gives us.
Did you read John 20:31? says “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Are the Scriptures complete? Do you need the book of mormon,Doctrine and covenant, koran or other book written by man “Human Creeds”?
Guest for truth, you’re talking about something completely different than I’m talking about. Just as Jeff is fond of doing.
what kind of revelation are you talking about? General or specific revelation?
Scripture doesn’t use terms like “general revelation” or “specific revelation” and I don’t either.
I’m talking about the kind of revelation when the Spirit tells Paul to go to Macedonia and closes the door to Asia at Bithynia (Acts 16).
I’m talking about the kind of speech the Spirit uses to give us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2).
I’m talking about the kind of unity the Spirit gives us by giving gifts individually to benefit the entire body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
Scripture alone can tell us of these blessings and benefits but is not designed to convey them by itself. The Spirit is given to accomplish these things in our lives and serve as the means of God’s partnership with us (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10, 3:16; 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:7).
Sorry. I made a mistake saying “Specific” instead of “Special Revelation”. And also for ask you with those theological terms. Those where the terms that Thomas Aquinas formulate to explain and understand his view on Revelation. He wrote a famous book called “ summa Theological.” You are right that the scripture does not use those terms just those that are formulating Theological Theories. Thomas Aquinas use that kind of reasoning as you are using to explain the question posted. “Thomas Aquinas believed in two types of revelation from God, general revelation and special revelation. General revelation occurs through observation of the created order. Such observations can logically lead to important conclusions, such as the existence of God.
Though one may deduce the existence of God and some of God’s attributes through general revelation, certain specifics may be known only through special revelation. In Aquinas’s view, special revelation is equivalent to the revelation of God in Jesus. The major theological components of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are revealed in the teachings of the Church and the Scriptures and may not otherwise be deduced. Special revelation and natural revelation are complementary rather than contradictory in nature.” But, as you say That Theology language is not in the Scripture so let’s just use Scripture to understand that question.
What you are calling Revelation is called: “especial Providence” Providence – refers to things affected by the providence of God (Phil. 2:13; Ephesians 2:10; ). The word providence is to mean, “divine providence; proceeding from divine direction or superintendence; as the providential contrivance of things; as a providential escape from danger.” God put the ways to them so that way they didn’t have to go to places where they could find danger. But also Paul had direct revelation (Vision) that is classified as special revelation just for the apostles in the early days of the church.
Keith said “but is not designed to convey them by itself” Are you sure? Is not the word of God the sword of the Spirit and the seed of the kingdom (Hebrews 4:12) ? That’s why God in his providence preserved the Scriptures (Ephesians 4:12-13) and made it available to every human being in this world and his body (church) of Christ to transmit the word of God in his purity without adding or taking away.
Keith, give us a discription of God, and show us in scripture where you came to that conclusion, you say you don’t believe in the discription in the old testament, where does your’s come from.
Laymond, I’ve never said I don’t believe in the Old Testament’s description of God. (https://keithbrenton.com/2010/02/25/o-t-god-n-t-god/)
“He didn’t obliterate Adam and Eve when they sinned;” You are right , he only sentenced them to pain, suffering, and hard labor for life. I am not saying he had no right, because he did, He owned everything, and could do what he wished. As you might recall scripture says everything was created by him for him. Then he decided to give everything to his son, who in my opinion did treat people differently, why? because he suffered with us, God did not. What does Jesus’ do now , according to scripture?
More to the point of this post, Laymond: Do we really believe that Jesus is empowered by God His Father to give life to whomever He pleases, or is He restricted the conditions we have tried to impose on salvation?
Because I read John’s gospel as saying:
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” – 5:21-23
kb, Just where in scripture is it taught that those who never hear will be saved? Where in scripture is it taught that those who do not know God’s name are free from sin? Where is the evidence that anyone other than an Apostle transfered power? Just who are these people who are modern day prophets, where are they who can heal the sick, raise the dead, speak in tongues that they never learned? Many claim to be, but all are apostates. The fact is, there is no evidence of such things happening after the end of the first century. Not even securlar historians record such events. And just where have I added anything to God’s word? Your quilty of teaching universalism for everyone who has never heard and obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me attempt short answers now. Scripture does not say that those who never hear will be saved. Nor does it say that those who never hear will be damned. The question is irrelevant.
It says that those who do not believe will be condemned, but you cannot believe what you have not heard, and the context of Mark 16:16 includes Mark 16:15: “Go and preach.” Romans 10:14 asks, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” Scripture recognizes that you can’t believe what you don’t hear. But it also says in Romans 1 that God is revealed and men are without excuse. We are responsible for what we say and do, and by those criteria all will be judged, believers and non-believers; those who have heard and those who haven’t (Matthew 25).
There is no evidence that anyone other than an apostle transfered power. There is no evidence that anyone other than an apostle didn’t. The question is irrelevant. God’s Holy Spirit gives gives to whom He wishes (1 Corinthians 12).
You ask “Just who are these people …?” I have no idea. Never met one. Would be interested in the scriptural basis for your authority to judge them as apostates or anything else.
You say, “… there is no evidence of such things happening after the end of the first century.” Oh, there’s lots. It’s just not in inspired scripture. “Not even secular historians record such events.” False. There are plenty. You can believe them if you want to, or not, on a case by case basis if you wish. It’s irrelevant to the point at hand. Can God still work in this way today if He wishes? Nothing in scripture says He can’t or won’t. Your favorite interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13 remains an interpretation, and one which has nothing to do with the context of the chapter. Nothing. It has no evidence to support the equation “that which is perfect = written, collected scripture known as Holy Bible.” None.
“And just where have I added anything to God’s word?” you ask. You’ve added unsupported interpretation wherever it suits what you wish to believe, and see no difference between it and scripture. That’s a dangerous path. It warrants your re-examination.
You charge me with teaching universalism. False. Universalism teaches that all will be saved in the end. I have not taught that. I do not believe that. Anyone who actually read this post or any of my previous ones would know and understand that with very little effort. Try.
What I’m teaching is what the Bible says: God, through His Christ, will judge all based on what they do and say. Those who have heard must make a choice to believe and obey and accept the promise of salvation. For those who have not heard, the power of Jesus to save and forgive is completely up to Him to exercise.
Read this passage again:
Tell me again that it is His nature to automatically damn anyone who has never heard of His name just because none of us ever reached them with it. Tell me again that’s just the way God is, and you are absolutely sure of it and very glad that it’s that way because that’s the way God wants it.
kb, your twisting scripture to your own distruction. Scripture teaches that without faith it is impossible to please God. It also teaches that we are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH. There is an eternal truth found in Isaiah 59:1f ” “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it can not save, neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. BUT your iniquities have seperated you from your God and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” kb is this not the reason Christ came, He came to seek and save the lost. Again, who was lost, ALL men. ALL fall short of the glory of God. All men are quilty even if they haven’t heard of Him. Christ came to reconcile man to God. Man was seperated from God because of their sins. Christ made this reconciliation possible. Scripture clearly teaches that man MUST respond to the gospel of Christ. If one rejects or never hears they remain lost in their sins, reconciliation can not occur. Why did Christ tell the Apostles to go into the whole world, preaching and baptizing them? It was because they were lost in their sins. They had never heard, but yet they were lost. There are such things as eternal truths, heaven and hell, Christ authority, His plan of salvation, the way we are to live, death etc. KB, the thief on the cross, how do we know that he wasn’t baptized by John? It doesn’t matter because Christ hadn’t died yet, they both died under the law of Moses. The glory of God’s written word is that I can test the spirits, whether they are of God or man. God in His wisdom understood that man would need something that he could rely on and He provided it. Again kb I can’t condemn anyone, but God’s word does. You see kb we are ALL damned until we are washed in the blood.
3 When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, The mountains shook at Your presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. 5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved.
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. 7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.
This prophecy is beautifully accurate; we do all need to be saved. But it says nothing about those who have never heard of God being automatically cast into hell because they have not heard and therefore could not believe. Do we believe that every soul under Moses’ law before Christ came was condemned to hell? Even Moses and Elijah, who were transfigured with Him? Even Abraham, whom Jesus describes as someone in whose bosom the beggar at the rich man’s gate found rest? What about Isaiah, who spoke and wrote these great words of God? Used by God’s Spirit of inspiration and then discarded eternally? Does that seem right? Why do we assume that God can and will judge these fairly and justly though they never heard and obeyed the gospel, but not someone now?
That’s is right is a prophecy, about the condition of the mankind “God saw all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (good people) that does not mean that he sees the babies or mentally behind like that” they are not in a mental maturity to understand and obey the Gospel (Age of Accountability) even if they heard the gospel thousand of times their brain is not mature to understand. After Christ die we receive the law of the Spirit also know as the perfect law or Law of Christ. In the whole scriptures there are Biblical Ages, Patriarchal Age, Mosaic Age, and now Christian age. (Heb. 1:1-2) if we respect this boundaries we can understand the question posted. That means rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15).
Jeff, let me address your questions again, though you continue to ignore mine nor do you choose to respond to my challenges.
“… kb is this not the reason Christ came, He came to seek and save the lost.”
Indeed He did. Is there a condition of hearing on that salvation? That’s the issue at hand.
“Again, who was lost, ALL men. ALL fall short of the glory of God.” All do fall short of the glory of God, and it is His prerogative to forgive or not — not ours. Just because all fall short of God’s glory, does that automatically mean that all are condemned? Where does scripture use these sweeping terms with regard to condemnation?
“All men are quilty even if they haven’t heard of Him.” Given. But does that mean they cannot be forgiven?
“Man was seperated from God because of their sins. Christ made this reconciliation possible.” Yes, He did. No question of it.
“Scripture clearly teaches that man MUST respond to the gospel of Christ.” Scripture also muses the question of Romans 10:14. How can one believe what one has not heard? How can you believe in the rare Blanket Octopus Tremoctopus gracilis if you have never heard of it? Now I’ve told you about it; you can Google it and find out more about it – and whether it exists. What about the endangered Tree Octopus Tremoctopus paxarbolis? Same thing. But one is completely bogus. How can you be expected to believe in one or the other if you have never heard of them?
How would you feel toward God and other people if His relationship with you (your eternal salvation) was solely dependent upon one of them telling you something you’ve never heard — and no one ever did?
Re: the thief on the cross … “how do we know that he wasn’t baptized by John? It doesn’t matter because Christ hadn’t died yet, they both died under the law of Moses.” Then the question is irrelevant. I asked you to examine the scripture in light of Christ’s forgiving NATURE toward someone who had no opportunity; someone whose faith was likely immature at best … and also with regard to Christ’s AUTHORITY to forgive sins (also seen clearly in Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5, and 7.
You’re telling me that God’s own authority to forgive sins is limited by whether a person has heard the gospel or not — but scripture does not say that.
“… we are ALL damned until we are washed in the blood.” It is true that those who are washed in the blood are recipients of the promise of salvation. But scripture nowhere says they are the sole, only, exclusive recipients of salvation. Those who have heard the gospel bear the burden and responsibility of accepting or rejecting Christ. However, one cannot be expected to believe in what one does not know of.
Read Matthew 25 again. Note that there were those who lived righteously, who did much good in the world, and at the time of judgment and accountability weren’t even aware that they had done these things for Christ.
Tell me again that doing good in this world doesn’t matter at all when it comes to one’s salvation; only being aware of the Christ.
Tell me again that it is God’s nature to automatically damn anyone who has never heard of His name just because none of us ever reached them with it. Tell me again that’s just the way God is, and you are absolutely sure of it and very glad that it’s that way because that’s the way God wants it.
kb, Christ came to seek and save the lost. They were lost long before He came. He came so that they might be saved. Scripture says, “repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins, I believe that kb, if its not true then God is a liar.If anyone can be saved without the blood of Christ, then Christ died in vain. A person can not be saved until they hear, if they never hear its the same as rejecting it. Jesus said, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. If you never hear you cannot be obedient to this command, you remain in your sins and you are lost. God has revealed to mankind what man MUST do in order to be saved. If what you say were true, God would be an unjust God, saying one thing and doing another. kb, are you looking for another thief on the cross moment? Man is without excuse! I believe He meant what He said, and said what He meant. By faith I believe in what God has said. Why kb can’t you believe,
kb, God desires that all men be saved, He requires all men to come to repentance. If Christ comes and tells you that your sins are forgiven, that will be good enough for me kb. Until then we had better do as instructed. Christ came and did many wonderful works and deeds and as John says, these things were written, so that we may believe. kb, you seem to forget your O.T. history, God is a loving God, but he has always demanded obedience. His loving nature always gives man a way out. But man doesn’t always go that route and pays the price. If a man ends up in hell, it won’t be God’s fault, it will be man who sent himself there. It will be God keeping His promises.
Oh, but I do believe what scripture says! Why do you believe what it doesn’t say?
Do we believe that babies and children are condemned before they hear? After they hear, but have not yet obeyed? People with disabilities, mental or physical? Why do we believe that God will show mercy to them, but not someone who has never heard the gospel but reasoned that there must be a Creator of good things, and try to live lives which reflect that goodness? Scripture says nothing about people who are mentally challenged or about an age of accountability, yet we draw our conclusions from God’s mercy and teach them as fact. Do we decide who’s saved, or does God? Do we have to presume someone is damned before we share the gospel with them? I say no. A promise will always trump a possibility for a right-thinking person who has heard the story of Jesus. And if we share the gospel from a position of moral equality — as fellow sinners and failures — rather than as those who are somehow morally superior because of what we have heard, I believe we’ll be far more successful in handling it aright. I believe God knows that, and the simple truth is that’s why scripture tells us He will judge and we should not.
I note, Jeff, that at no point have you been willing to say you are absolutely convinced and pleased that God condemns all who have not heard His gospel; that this is ultimately fair and just as well as loving and merciful and it is the way that God should have treated you if you had never heard of Him.
Just because man is without excuse, does that mean that he is without hope and condemned? Because if it does, we are all without hope and condemned. They can’t mean the same thing.
Jeff, if you read the Bible like you read my posts, it’s no wonder you come up with the wild ideas that you do.
kb, I take you at your word.
Jeff, you take me at your word.
kb, Those who died under the old law, those who died obedient and righteous in God’s eyes were indeed saved. Though their souls had to wait until the blood of Christ was shed. It was the blood of Christ that saved them, it flowed backward as well as forward. Yes we do draw conclusions, based on what God’s word says, not what it doesn’t, its called necessary inferance. I will also say that hell will be full of nice, good people. These nice good people who never respond to the gospel are lost. They have never had their sins washed away. They have never been reconciled with their God, they remain seperated. God has told us who will be saved. They will be those who hear and believe, those who repent and confess His name, those who are baptized for the remission of their sins, those who remain faithful unto death. This is what God’s word says. We do have to assume that everyone who has not done this is in fact lost. Common sense here kb, if God tells us what we must do, then if we don’t do it, we must conclude that we are lost. We share the gospel because we understand the urgency, if they are not taught the truth and if they don’t respond they will lose their souls. Why pray tell send the Apostles to preach and baptize, why do it today? We do it because people are lost in their sins and if they don’t hear and respond they are lost. kb, when we teach someone the gospel we do so because scripture tells us who is lost and who is saved. God has already made the judgement therefore we are not judging. Man is without excuse, God has provided a way for us. All men are condemned until they are washed in the blood. Each Christian has a duty to spread the good news. We do so out of love for our God, we do so out of love for our fellow man. It is love, to show others the way. By the way kb, it is impossible to believe in what it doesn’t say.
But, brother, you DO believe what it doesn’t say. Like:
“All men are condemned until they are washed in the blood.” Scripture that says that is found where?
“We do it because people are lost in their sins and if they don’t hear and respond they are lost.” Citation for this?
“I will also say that hell will be full of nice, good people. These nice good people who never respond to the gospel are lost.” Reference?
You see, Jeff, I can point you to scriptire that says you can’t believe if you haven’t heard; that it is in God’s nature to forgive even those who have not heard; that He judges through His Christ — His Anointed One and Son — based on what all have said and done. And all you can do is assert, repeat, repeat, and assert.
The purpose of the gospel is to lead us into a gracious, gratitude-filled, Christlike life that reflects God’s glory and shows love to others. Such people are considered righteous through the blood of Christ. Does it really make sense to you that God will judge such people worthy of hell who have lived that kind of life IN SPITE OF never having heard the gospel? Do they not put to shame thousands of us who wear Christ’s name but do not live up to His example? Is our adoption as sons merely a lind of divine nepotism by which God saves those who put a check by the correct five boxes but live the rest of their lives largely un-lived toward others?
kb, your words leave me speechless. Its hard to have a bible discussion when you disbelieve so much of it, but let me try. 2 John 9, Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. Romans 10:8f ” The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith which we preach, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13, for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” kb I think if I were you you might want to reconsider what you have said here. 1. You have denied the need of Christ blood. 2. You deny the need to preach the gospel to the lost. 3. You contend that good and nice people can earn their way into heaven. 4. the gospel of Jesus Christ is meaningless. It is not in Gods nature to forgive those who have never heard, God calls all men to repentance, God will not accept us as we are. We must change, turn from our sinful selves and follow His son in faithful obedience. We are commanded to repent and be baptized for the remission of our sins. You continue to look for what He has not said, when we can read what he has said we can know what He wants. Romans 5: 18 ” Therefore, as through one mans offense (Adam) judgement came to ALL men, resulting in condemnation….” 19 ” For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners….” All men kb need the blood of Christ. Verse 9 of the same chapter says, ” much more then, having been justified by His blood we shall be saved from the wrath through Him.” Chapter 6 informs us how we contact this blood. Gal 3:27 tells us those who are baptized have put on Christ. v29 if we are Christ’s, if we have put Him on in baptism we are Abrahams seed and HEIRS according to His promise. And these Christ like attributes, they would be fruit born of the spirit. Things we learn to do, after we become sons. kb, I can agree with you on one thing, we can’t believe what we haven’t heard and I would add we can’t believe what God hasn’t said. We are saved by grace, THROUGH FAITH, without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. If we haven’t heard, we CAN”T please God.
2 John 9 does record the promise made to believers. It does not exclude all who have not heard, but those who have (obviously) heard and ABIDE (remain) in the doctrine of Christ.
Romans 8 also repeats that promise to those who (obviously) have heard and believed.
1. I have never denied the need for Christ’s blood. That is a lie. He judges; His blood is applied to the salavtion of whom He judges worthy. (Romans 9:13-15)
2. I have never denied the need to preach the gospel, only the need to assume that all who have not heard it are automatically lost. So that charge is a lie, too, brother.
3. I have never contended that good and nice people can ear their way into heaven. This is also a lie. I have contended that God judges all; we are wholly dependent on His mercy, but He reveals the criteria for His judgment: what we do and say.
4. I have never said that The gospel of Christ is meaningless. That is a lie. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes …” But to believe, one must hear. (Romans 10:14).
If you will lie about what a brother in Christ says, what keeps you from lying about what scripture says and doesn’t say?
You may respond, but I will no longer answer your outrageous and untrue accusations. I have finished with you. We’re done here.
And I continue to note, Jeff, that at no point have you been willing to say you are absolutely convinced and pleased that God condemns all who have not heard His gospel; that this is ultimately fair and just as well as loving and merciful and it is the way that God should have treated you if you had never heard of Him.
That was the opening question of this post, and you have failed to answer it.
I looks like you’ve stepped in deep this time :).
Any ways, it seems so much of our theology is shaped by the way we read scripture (hermeneutics) and I don’t know if it is possible to come to any sort of agreement on issues like this with all of the baggage each one of brings to the issue coupled with a variety of ways we read scripture. Ergo the continues differences over Jesus statement in John 14.6… some read it as a proposition, some as a functional declaration, some read both it and the deductions they make from it as being true (see no difference between what Jesus said and what they deduce from what Jesus said), etc…
Nevertheless, I have many questions myself so I am glad to see you willing to raise the issue too. Thanks!
Grace and Peace,
kb, I have stated in many ways over and over, that God will condemn all men who either reject the gospel or never hear it. I’m convinced and pleased that God has told me how it is. I’m greatful that His word never changes, I can trust His promises. I’m satisfied to let anyone who may be reading along to judge me according to what I have said. Test the spirits and see if what I have said alines itself with God’s written word. I would also suggest that they do the same with your words kb.
“I’m convinced and pleased that God has told me how it is.”
Jeff, do you remember the two who came before Jesus one thanking him for making him righteous, and the other confessing to be unworthy, remember what Jesus said?
How come no one has stepped up to the plate, to explain? Mat 5:3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Since Jesus is the author of Mat. 5:3 wouldn’t it coincide with John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father but through Me.”
If I understood what you’re asking or saying (and which is it?), Laymond, I’d respond. Sorry.
Keith, I am simply asking what does it mean , to be ” poor in spirit”? If the needy, in spirit do not know exactly how to ask for the spirit, did I read somewhere that someone would know their longings and ask for them, and who was it that would ask.? the same spirit who said “I am the way”
Mat 5:3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I can’t help but believe that someone who had never heard, would qualify.
Jeff, how about those who have heard but didn’t have the capability to understand, what happens to them. last I heard you can’t believe for someone else.
Laymond, I don’t believe those who don’t have the ability or capability to understand will be held accountable. They would be like small children who can’t understand.
Jeff, how about the guy who claims God gave him the truth, but sits on his ass and does not go to these uninformed (these people headed for hell) and spread the word. Who do you think is worse off, the uninformed, or the ass sitter?
Laymond, the a.. sitter to answer your question, scripture tells us “it would better for them to have never known the truth, than to have known the truth and fallen away, which is the direction the lazy are headed. It is a sin to know to do good and not do it. The uninformed and the lazy will end up in the same place.
Jeff, whose fault is it that the uninformed, remain uninformed.?
Their own, man is without excuse.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.
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I am not a theological scholar, but it seems to me that John 14:6 should be read in context (ie: Jesus is answering a question put to Him by Thomas). Jesus tells Thomas — You know me, so you know my Father. If you know me you will do what My Father has told you to do (Law of Moses, the prophets). If someone does not “know” God and they die, how can we presume to condemn/judge them? Once they know God, through Jesus, perhaps we can make that judgement (I certainly wouldn’t, ’cause I’m not that smart!). BUT if that person, through making choices (God created us with free will) follows God’s will (unbeknownst to him) inately because they “know” God through His creation (Romans 1:18-20), who am I to say that Christ Jesus won’t say, “Father, see this man? He followed me — welcome him!”
So, that’s my 2 cents worth (belatedly). Thanks for the thoughtful blogging, Mr. Brenton.
Hadn’t considered that … Good point, Tonia!
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