- Many people wrestle with the question of the eternal fate of those who’ve never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, some ask, “What about the guy in the jungle who’s never heard the name of Jesus? How could God judge someone who by no fault of their own never had a chance to hear the good news?”
- To answer this question we must be ready to address three central issues: the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the nature of God’s plan of salvation. To unpack these issues consider the following biblical truths.
- First, the Bible assures us that God will treat all people with perfect fairness, justice, and love (Dt. 32:3; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pt. 3:9). God’s heart is for people and he doesn’t want anyone to miss out on a relationship with him. We can be sure that God will judge every person on earth fairly and justly.
- Second, God’s word is clear that the guy in the jungle who’s never heard the name of Jesus is as guilty as Billy Graham (Ecc. 7:20). There are no innocent natives or evangelists. All of humanity is infected by sin and our sin separates us from our holy, Creator-God (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Is. 64:6). Thus, all people need salvation.
- Third, God has plainly revealed that his plan of salvation is “one-way” (Jn. 3:16-18, 36; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31). God hasn’t given us a bunch of options as to how we might be saved. He’s told us clearly that we all need Jesus.
- Fourth, the Bible tells us that even those who’ve never heard the name of Jesus have been given the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-20; Ps. 19:1-3; Ecc. 3:11; Rom. 2:15). God has not left himself without a testimony (Acts 14:17). People aren’t condemned for what they don’t know, but for what they do know and have rejected. However, for those who respond to the light of God’s general revelation, we have to trust that more light will be given (Hebrews 11:6).
- Fifth, as Christians we remain under the mandate of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Rom. 10:13-15). People need Jesus; and God has given us the command to be his ambassadors to the world (2 Cor. 5:20). If we’re concerned about the guy in the jungle who’s never heard about Jesus, the most appropriate question we can ask is, “What am I going to do about it?”
For more helpful answers to common apologetic questions, please check out the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.