What About Those Who’ve Never Heard?

Reaching the Lost for Jesus | by S.A. Keith

Click here to listen to the audio version.

Jesus commanded his followers to go into all the world and preach the good news message (Matthew 28:19-20). But, what about those people who weren't reached? Why would God condemn them if they've never heard the gospel? Some may even say, "this kind of God is unfair," and refuse to believe in him. Have you heard that complaint? However, it’s not wrong to wonder about this. In fact, I think the Scriptures give an answer to our inquiring minds.

First, John 1:8-9 says, “He [John] came as a witness to testify about the Light, so that through him [Jesus] everyone might believe. [John] was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. The true Light who gives light to every person, was coming into the world.”

Interestingly, the word light in this passage is two different words, with two different meanings! (This is where using a Bible app such as Biblehub.com is so helpful.) 

The Greek word for Light, when referencing Jesus, is phós (pronounced foce), meaning a source of light, radiance. It is the manifestation of God's self-existent life; divine illumination to reveal and impart life, through Christ. Jesus said, “I am the light (phós) of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light (phós) of life” (John 8:12).  Here, Jesus laid claim to the covenant name of God, the great "I Am" the LORD, Yahweh. In other words, the “source of Light” who led the children of Israel through the desert in a pillar of fire, is Jesus! 

Whereas, the word light in John 1:9 that Jesus gives to people, is phótizó (pronounced fo-tid'-zo). It means to shine, give light to, light up, illumine, to bring to light, make evident, to reveal. By this, we learn that Jesus makes evident, he illuminates or reveals, his Light to every person! Romans 1:20 also makes this point, "Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

Second, in Revelation 7:9-10, John describes end time events, saying, "I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

Did you catch the significance of this passage? There will be a great multitude of every nation, tribe, people, and language represented and gathered with Jesus in his eternal kingdom! This means that some how, some way, the Lord's salvation message reaches to the uttermost; there won’t be a single place where his Light hasn’t shined! What a great hope for humankind!

Does this get the believer "off the hook" to going and telling the good news message? Heaven forbid! We obey the imperative to proclaim and teach the message of salvation, because that is what Jesus commanded his followers to do. What he does then with our obedience is his business. Salvation belongs to our God! 

Let's pray: Dear LORD, you are the God who saves. Apart from you we can do nothing. Help us LORD Jesus to shine your light to our families, friends, and communities, and find creative ways to shine your light to the ends of the earth! Amen.

Friends, please share this with someone who needs to hear it. God bless you! Stay close to Jesus!

Copyright 2021 S. A. Keith

Photo credit: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn @Pexels.com

Return to the Adult and Teen Devotionals page.

You can make a difference! 
Your donation to the site helps us distribute our children's ministry resources to churches across the world.

 Subscribe to our Newsletter - Learn More

Site Map