You tell 'em I'M coming ... and hell's coming with me, you hear?
"What about those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?"
“They don’t go to hell, do they?”
As much as the fact saddens my heart, the unevangelized do spend eternity in hell. You might be thinking, “That’s not justice.” But before making that accusation, think about what justice means.
Justice entails getting what you deserve. For example, if I agree to pay you $5 for washing my car and pay you $5 upon completion, justice was done. If I give you less than $5, you have cause to be angry as you received less than what you deserved. Also, if I gave you $7 instead, I was gracious to you and more than fair.
Well, is it just for those who have never heard the gospel to spend an eternity separated from God? Yes, the unevangelized go to hell, but not because they haven’t heard. Rather, they go to hell because they deserve to do so. They deserve hell because they are sinners.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Because God is holy, He cannot allow sin into His presence. Because sin is breaking God’s laws (1 John 3:4) and God is a good or just Judge, He must punish crime. Only a corrupt judge would let criminals go free without punishment. That punishment is severe. We are told that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).
For every member of the human race punishment either has been executed or it will.
"what Christ did by dying on the cross for sinners was to appease the wrath of God against sinners. By requiring of his Son such humiliation and suffering for the sake of God's glory, He openly demonstrated that He does not sweep sin under the rug. All contempt for His glory is duly punished, either on the cross, where the wrath of God is propitiated for those who believe, or in hell, where the wrath of God is poured out on those who don't."We can see that one reason the unevangelized go to hell is because God is a just Judge and gives them what they deserve. They deserve hell for their crimes, but so do I. I am merely a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Sins are forgiven and paid due to Christ’s death and His death alone. For believers, "it is finished."
-John Piper, Desiring God
But this assuaging of God's wrath is only appropriated by faith. Therefore, the unevangelized do not have their sin forgiven by the only means offered in the Bible, Jesus’ death.
Are there other ways? Jesus claimed that no one could come to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). We are told that there is no other name, under heaven, given to men by which they must be saved (Acts 4:12). Those who have the Son of God have eternal life and those without the Son do not (1 John 5:12). We also read that those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned already (John 3:18) and not just because they do not believe. Remember, that for those who reject Christ there is no change in status, but they remain under the wrath of God (John 3:36). Jesus says that unless one believes in Him, they will die in their sins (John 8:24).
In a book by Kenneth Boa and Larry Moody entitled I’m Glad You Asked, the authors offer 3 options to our initial question regarding those who have never heard.
These 3 options are:
(1) God will not judge them,
(2) God will judge them unfairly, or
(3) God will judge them fairly.
The Bible specifically addresses this issue in the first chapter of Romans. We are told that what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them (Romans 1:19). It also informs us that 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 men are without excuse (Rom 1:20).
It has been my intention to show that God will judge them, but fairly. Fairness to the lost entails punishment for their sin. In fact, God would still be fair and just if no people were saved. But, because of His love, He chooses to have mercy on some (Rom 9:18). He does not have to do so, but does so out of love. It is by God’s grace that He saves any people. None of us deserve Jesus. God does not owe us heaven, in fact God does not owe us anything, except hell.
Again, the Bible is clear. They are without excuse (Rom 1:20). The sad truth is that those who have not heard are headed toward an eternity in hell. This is illustrative of a Christian’s zeal for evangelism, sharing his/her faith. Those that understand the Bible on this subject realize the need for spreading the gospel of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
We look to the 10th chapter of Romans. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (10:13). Next a problem arises: “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” (10:14). The answer to this rhetorical question is that they cannot. The following shows the responsibility of each Christian: “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (10:14).
It is precisely because the unevangelized go to hell that Christians must spread the good news of Jesus Christ!
If the world's population was safe in ignorance, then one of the worst things we could do for our fellow humans we intend to love would be to share the Gospel with them, thereby making them accountable. Money spent on world missions would be blood money. If one believed the unevangelized were saved, then evangelists could only increase hell's population.
What good news would that be? The best outcome for the evangelized would be that they still get to go to heaven? Left alone they'd get that any way, right? Being evangelized the chance emerges that they could go to hell.
C'mon! That's absurd and missionaries might as well announce their vocation by saying, "You tell 'em I'M coming ... and hell's coming with me, you hear?"
But since people in their ignorance are unaware of their plight, we labor to warn them.
The bad news is that all of humanity are under the wrath of God. The good news is that there is a way of escape because of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The time is short and we must do all we can to minimize this harsh reality by leaving as few as possible unevangelized.
"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon