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“What about the ‘unreached’ people in the world—those that never have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. Do they have any hope of salvation?”
This question may be answered in two basic ways: no and yes.
All humans are sinners and separated from God. Salvation is only through Christ. (Rom. 3:23; I Jn. 1:8; Jn. 1:12, 14; 14:6; Acts 4:12.)
All who do not accept Him are doomed to eternity apart from Him, even if they have never heard His Name. This view, along with Jesus’ commission to “go and tell,” constitutes the impetus for the worldwide missions movement.
We struggle with believing that a just and gracious God condemns those who have never heard to eternal suffering.
The Bible does not leave us with nothing at this point. “Unreached” is a reference to our efforts, not God’s; i.e., there are indeed hints that God is at work with the “unreached.”
Jesus’ atonement is efficacious for the whole earth.
The Gospel is all-inclusive—nowhere does the Bible say that Christ died for a few. The cross and resurrection make salvation possible for all people (Lk 2:10; 19:10; Jn. 1:29; 3:17; I Tim. 1:15; 4:15).
God does not want any to perish (Rom. 2:4; 11:32; Mt. 18:14; II Pet. 3:9).
God reveals Himself to all people (Rom. 1:20). Nature unveils the invisible attributes of God so that “no one has an excuse.”
A man is judged by how he responds to what he knows. Those who honestly seek God will find Him (Prov. 7:17; Acts 10:35).
Paul seemed to indicate that it is only after one has heard the Gospel that one is responsible for one’s response to it (Rom. 2:9-16; 5:13-20; 7:7).
But this is not patent universalism. The one who has not heard is responsible for what he knows of God.
The one who has heard is responsible in this life for his choice regarding Christ’s invitation to faith.