What is providence? Providence is the provided path of God by His foreknowledge. God provides a way by natural events while knowing what each person will do by free will. All these things work together in the world producing good things for those who love Him. “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
Strangely, many professing Christians have little faith in God’s providence unto works of God needed for salvation. There are some that actually believe that a righteous person could die on the way to being immersed unto salvation. Because of this “possible scenario,” they reject baptism in Jesus’s name. The Scriptures teach that this is essential for the salvation (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Again, it is easy to kill a straw man like “water salvation” and “works salvation.” Not only is water baptism rejected, but even the necessity of being in the church of Jesus Christ for salvation is rejected (Eph 5:25–27; 1 Pet 4:17). For many, as long as a person is generally good or has faith in God and Christ, then they are going to Heaven when they die. This is heresy! There is another heresy. This is that those who are ignorant of Christ, baptism, and anything else necessary for salvation are excused, and God will save them, because they think that it is unjust for God’s wrath to come upon those who have not heard the Gospel of Christ.
God requires each person to have faith and confess Jesus as God’s risen Son for salvation (Rom 10:9). This is not questioned like baptism. What if someone believing in God confessed faith in Jesus and God but not the resurrection of Jesus, began reading the Bible, but did not get to read of the resurrection and did not confess it before dying, is that person saved? Why would God’s providence even allow such? If such a scenario did happen where God condemned that person, then God must have been just. Such a person may have had years to understand and confess the resurrection of Jesus and as many opportunities as the merciful God can give, so that God is certainly just. Still, the sincere seeker is not going to be condemned on his way to salvation. Even though this is true, there are those who accept confessing the resurrection for salvation and yet reject baptism even from being a work of God and instituted by Christ Himself (Matt 28:19). Why? Because they lack faith in God’s providence and the Scriptures, they are corrupt, or even they are just ignorant without excuse. God most likely would not unjustly send to judgment in Hell the one repenting and turning unto Him. God would also not break His Scripture that one must confess for salvation nor that baptism is necessary.
Essentially, those who reject immersion or any other needed works of God for salvation are ignoring God’s providence. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). The absurd scenario of dying on the way to immersion is like reasoning that one hungering and thirsting after righteousness could die on the way to be filled and not be filled. Such is heresy! This is exactly what many professing Christianity believe. I hope this will change your mind:
What about those who are ignorant of the Gospel? How can they be held accountable? Passing the fact that they have a conscience (Rom 2:15), everyone is able to see clearly God’s invisible attributes through the things that are made, and these attributes are His everlasting power and divinity, so that no one is without excuse (Rom 1:20). God has revealed Himself to everyone in Creation, and whose fault is it that they do not seek Him? This is their own and the Christians who do not teach them. Matthew 7:7–8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” Again, whose fault is it that one does not seek God? It’s their own and Christians who do not teach them. God provides a way for everyone who seeks Him. There is certainly just wrath for those who do not seek after God and for those who do not teach the lost. “But seek you first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).
In conclusion, many do not believe that there will be those lost because of one’s ignorance either of God, His Christ, His Word, His baptism and, or the things necessary to walk in Christ so that the blood of Christ continues to wash away sins. See, these professing Christ do not believe in what the Scriptures state and in what God will provide. They truly lack faith in God in denying the necessity of water baptism unto remission of sins. May God have mercy on them long enough that they seek faith in God’s providence and then they will find it.
I think that it is good that we see eye-to-eye except about ignorance. Maybe I’m wrong but I think you implied that this is my opinion in some way for which I do not understand. I would personally hold the same understanding regarding those who are ignorant and I know other brethren who do. See I base the eternal damnation of those who do not know God off of 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 being that Jesus will come “rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:”.
Great that you are writing on this. I wrote some on this topic too for some journals. I see providence as confluence.
I’m going to go out on a liberal/F. LaGard Smith limb and say that I am not the ultimate judge of salvation. I’m definitely not here to proclaim that those who have not heard the word of God WILL be saved, but I’d also be a tad hesitant to say they will suffer eternal punishment. I believe God is sovereign above all and He works in ways that man cannot always completely understand.
However, that having been said, whenever you play the game of hypothetical scenarios, it’s hard to come down on the way God would act anyway unless we have such an example of how God dealt with said scenario in the Scriptures.
We, on the other hand, can only live and teach what we know to be true in God’s word. We know that God is the divine and perfect judge. We know that He wants all men to be saved. And we know that salvation is through putting on Christ in baptism and living faithfully till the end. Anything outside of what we know is likely to be left in the realm of things we don’t know.
The bottom line is that we as Christians should be doing our job in evangelizing in order to remove any doubt whatsoever that the gospel is available to mankind in every nation if in fact they seek the truth. Let’s leave these hypothetical scenarios up to God and fill in what we are able to affect with God’s word.