My wife and I once visited Nova Scotia on a mission trip.
While there, we rented a car to travel back and forth to the places where we would visit and work. We quickly noticed the unfamiliarity of the speed limit signs. Everything was in metric, which we weren’t familiar with. Yet, we were still responsible. Had we been stopped for speeding, the officer wouldn’t have accepted the excuse that we were tourists, unfamiliar with the metric system. It was our responsibility to learn the laws so we could obey them.
Humans also have a responsibility to their Creator. “Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).
Jesus proclaimed himself as the only way to the Father, so what happens to those who’ve never heard of him? Are they still responsible? Will they have any chance to spend eternity in heaven? Perhaps, we can’t know with absolute certainty, but there are some definite conclusions we can reach.
People who’ve never heard of Jesus are still responsible to God. Nature proclaims his existence. Theologians term this his general revelation. Though this isn’t sufficient to lead people to Jesus, it’s enough to make them accountable to God. It points us to a supreme Designer.
Another certainty is the responsibility we as believers have to share the Gospel. When those who’ve never heard hear the Good News, they can then see how to connect with the supreme Designer. God has accomplished his part, and we must fulfill ours.
In our world of technological marvels, the numbers of those who’ve never heard about Jesus are shrinking. For those who die having never heard, we must trust God’s love and grace. Perhaps there is no absolute answer. We’re responsible for fulfilling our duty. We can leave the rest to God.