“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both me and my father” (John 15: 22 – 24.)
Jesus Christ preached throughout Israel for up to three years before being crucified. He preached in the cities; in the wilderness; in the temple; in homes and on street corners; he preached to every capable Israelite. He was so well known that he needed to travel by boat to avoid being thronged by the crowds. Yet, despite seeing the miracles and hearing God’s message of repentance and forgiveness, many rejected him. Others chose to avoid hearing him entirely; willfully embracing ignorance. Still, voluntary ignorance is the same as complete rejection; and is therefore no excuse. On the contrary, those who were never made aware of the message are not under condemnation.
In my years of evangelism, I have interacted with numerous skeptics, agnostics, and atheists, who often use a common question to challenge God’s perfect justice: “If you can’t get to heaven without accepting Jesus Christ; what about the child in Africa who dies without ever having heard the gospel? Are they going to go to hell?” The answer is no. God does not condemn the naive. Those who are ignorant are innocent; yet those who have heard “have no excuse for their sin.” Many refuse to open a bible or enter a church, believing that by not accepting or rejecting Jesus they will avoid condemnation. They are wrong; voluntary ignorance is the same as complete rejection.
The Followers of Jesus Christ continue to preach the gospel to this day. Some accept him; some deny him; and others simply refuse to investigate. God forgives the truly naive, but condemns the willingly ignorant. There are very few places on earth where Christ’s message has yet to be preached. Perhaps some remote tribe in the Amazon hasn’t heard the truth; or maybe a young child in a Hindu household in India remains ignorant? God is just and holy; He commits no evil; we have come to understand from this scripture that the genuinely ignorant are not eternally condemned. His word again provides the answer to a difficult question. Dive in to the bible and you will find the answers you seek. Meditate upon His precepts and He will use you to preach the gospel; to illuminate the uninformed, and to bring hope to the hopeless. Through you, many will come to know His goodness, His mercy, and His love.
“Lord Heavenly Father, we recognize Your perfect justice. We acknowledge that You are good and not evil. May we be equipped to answer every question we are asked. Empower us through Your Holy Spirit; may we be bold; may we illuminate darkened minds, and preach the gospel to the ignorant. May we be Your messengers in this place. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you.