What Will Happen to Those Who Never Find Christ?

Never Find Christ

What will happen to those who never find Christ? Is this fair and just that these suffer eternal condemnation? In the Christians Scriptures, there was a man who was devout, feared God, prayed to God, gave to the poor, and did not know Jesus, but he was not saved until he heard and conformed to the Gospel. That man was Cornelius (Acts 10:1–2; 11:13–14, 18). The Book of Acts records others who were devout worshipers of God and who were not saved until they came to faith in Christ (Acts 8:26–40; 16:11–15).

God’s Just Wrath and the Ignorant

Are the ignorant safe without God? In Romans 1:18–20, Paul revealed,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

People have the ability within them to come to know of God’s existence and more. This includes the conscience. Paul wrote in Romans 2:14–15,

[F]or when nations, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.

Paul continued to reveal that people know God through God’s creation, yet they darken their hearts when they disregard God. Paul affirmed in Romans 1:21–22,

[B]ecause, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,

There is no excuse for not knowing God. The depravity of people comes from their lack of recognition of God. They do neither glorify Him nor thank Him, and thus they are given to futile thinking. The apostle Paul continued to reveal in Romans 1 those who reject God become foolish and they dishonor their bodies. Paul described the state of all before salvation, “[W]e all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Eph 2:3).

All People Can Come to Know God

All people and nations are close enough to God to find Him. For Jesus affirmed, “Seek and you will find” (Matt 7:7). Christ revealed through Paul in Acts 17,

[God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (Acts 17:26–27)

No matter the isolated place on the earth, whether dense rain-forest or disconnected island, everyone can know God and He is not far from any that they may know Him and find Him. This is His promise and His providence. God is just. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:3–4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

The Condemnation of All

As Romans 1 reveals, indifference keeps people from God and not ignorance. For every person can find Him and so be saved. However, willful ignorance from careless neglect hinders the lost from being saved. Therefore, let everyone seek God and His Christ, because without Him we are condemned. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). Hence, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

Our condemnation is just when we do not find God (John 3:18–21). How can eternal fiery torment in Gehenna be just? The writer of Hebrews revealed,

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:26–29)

The Good News

Where is salvation according to the Christian Scriptures?

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. (Rom 6:8–9).

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Cor 15:1–4)

This saving Gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in Romans 6:

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin (Rom 6:3–7)

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Church of Christ, Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What Will Happen to Those Who Never Find Christ?

  1. Pingback: Suffering for Christ « Inspired Ministries

  2. It's just a web site man! says:

    No problem. I believe that within the body of Christ, there is room for interpretation and fellowship among those of us with different understandings about Jesus. We have to remember that although we have scripture, which is inerrent in its original version, God transcends the physical world, and even our understanding. As such, there are things we simply won’t know until the day we stand in front of Jesus in Heaven. That’s ok. Because of this fact, it is important to not be prideful, boastful, or arrogant in any way when evangelizing. We are to remember the two commandments Jesus left us with – Love God and love your neighbor. From these commandments, all others flow. In time, we will all know the true answer to that very difficult question.

    God Bless…


  3. It's just a web site man! says:

    >>I am convinced that God by His providence brings the gospel to willfully seeking in this life.

    This is the essence of Restritivism which is one of the views I mentioned before.


  4. It's just a web site man! says:

    >>These that worship the true God, the Father of the Messiah, could be justly received by God.

    Thanks for your response. How would someone living far away from Abraham and David have known about the coming of the Messiah? Did everyone outside of those areas go to Hell? I am not questioning your faith. I am simply trying to understand your view point on this subject, which I believe to be the hardest one for us as Christians to explain.

    Do you believe that Jesus transcends our earthly life? If so, does He have the power to save someone after their death on earth? If not, aren’t you basically a restrictivist? Nothing wrong with that, but you do seem to follow that point of view from your post.



    • In the times of Abraham, Moses, to David, these had the Law of Moses. The nations still had patriarchal access to God like Abraham, Melchizedek, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro among the Midians, and the inhabitants of Nineveh who Jonah went to. Hell is just for these being that faith in the True God is apparent throughout the generations among these primitive nations. I would imagine as Romans 2 speaks of the conscience and Romans 1 of the knowledge of God that God would speak to them. How God would reach these nations speaking directly or evangelist? I don’t know, but I do know that He can do it and that He keeps His promises.

      These nations had the faith being pass down and around them from Noah. In fact, the Messianic predictions of the seed of woman bruising the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15) is seen throughout pagan cultures and its roots in Sumeria where Ninus (Nimrod) was deified by his Semiramis. [Btw, Nineveh means habitation of Ninus.] Semiramus’ son, Ninyas [Tammuz?] [I think that was his name], is to have conquered the serpent and this passed down through paganism to Osiris and Isis in Egypt to Baal and Astoreth in Canaan to Venice, Aphrodite and Hercules in Achaia (Greece) and Italia. No, there is not much of an understanding of the Messiah except through Moses’ words and, or some old revelations from Noah’s time.

      As above, God’s providence would bring the gospel by evangelist or He could do through apostates, enemies, book (the bible), or some means to reach the Lost.

      Yes, basically, you could call me a restrictivist. Does Jesus have the power to save after death? Yes. Yet, will He? All I know is that after death comes judgment (Heb. 9:27). Jesus preaching to others after this life appears to be speculative to me and I don’t anyone should rest their salvation on speculation. Today is the day of salvation (Heb. 3). We are judged by what we did in this life (Rom. 2:5-10, Rev. 20:12-13).

      Thanks for the questions and exposure to the common terminology on this subject. May God bless you.


  5. It's just a web site man! says:

    I believe Christ is greater than any man can imagine. I also believe that God, through Christ, is not bound by time constraints. There are things none of us will truly know until the day we meet Christ in heaven. I am ok with that, putting my faith in Him until then. However, the question of the un-evangelized is one that is a difficult one for us to answer. For example, what about those that were faithful to God, but died shortly after the resurrection, in a country where Christianity had not reached yet? They worshiped the only God they were exposed to? Are they saved? Isn’t God, and Christ, able to transcend even our own abilities to send missionaries to save people who have not heard? There is a book that talks about three theories – inclusivism, restrictivism, and divine perseverance – It is called “What About Those Who Have Never Heard?: Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized”. Have you heard of the book? Do you agree with any one or more of these views?

    God Bless…



    • Well, I’d certainly agree that God knows and is just towards those un-evangelized just following the resurrection. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
      because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Like Apollos and the 12 baptized in Acts 19, correction and obedience is a necessary result of faith and God’s providence brought that just as God brought Peter to Cornelius’ household (Acts 10).

      I would agree that God understood those under the Law before the Gospel had reached them and that He understood those under the law of conscience among the nations. Yet, this does not justify the worship of false gods. These that worship the true God, the Father of the Messiah, could be justly received by God. Yet, God only knows the state of the people of the world at that time, who may have all been so immoral.

      Yes, I’ve heard of the book. I haven’t read it. I appreciate the recommendation and I’ll look into it.


      • From what I can tell about these views, I don’t find the Bible to agree with any of these three, inclusivism, exclusivism (at least not with gospel after life), or perseverance.

        I am convinced that God by His providence brings the gospel to willfully seeking in this life.


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