My husband and I were sitting in the waiting room of one of those medical clinics that have sprung up everywhere, and the television was on to babysit a roomful of people in varying degrees of discomfort. After many years away from TV, we were learning what passes for news in 2014: dolly faces and empty talk and sexual innuendo and the weather announced by inappropriately dressed meteorologists.
In a clashing juxtaposition, a commercial came on for salvation in Jesus Christ. I kid you not. Some group (I didn’t catch the name) proclaimed the full gospel right there over the airwaves and into the lobotomized lobby. In the palpable silence of no one talking to anyone, it was loud and clear, like that bugle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians:
“… if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8).
Later in the day I was reviewing questions from our church’s middle school kids, to be presented to a panel of us adults. One of them was, “What will happen to people who never hear about Christ?” Everyone can resonate with this question. It is the “fairness” question, and children, as well as adults, are all about fair.
Part of the answer to this perennial question is that people who don’t know God will simply not be in heaven. A day is coming when …
“… the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God …” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
Another part of the answer is that it will be our fault that they don’t know:
“Wake up from your drunken stupor. … For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34).
Another part of the answer is that the gospel of Jesus has gone out throughout the earth:
“… the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing …” (Colossians 1:5-6).
God is not restricted by ordinary human means from revealing Jesus to people around the world. I met a man from Tajikistan who came to Christ through a dream of Him calling him, and many of us have heard such stories.
But in this country of ours there will be no excuse. For even if some American tries to plead at the judgment seat that no one in his family or in his circles ever told him of the truth, God will remind him of that day in the urgent care clinic when He sent him the gospel in no uncertain terms over the television, and he just went back to reading People magazine.