Summary: God will make sure those who would repent, will have the opportunity.
It is essential to understand that no one receives punishment for not believing in Jesus; instead, everyone stands condemned for his or her moral depravity (cf., John 3:16-18).1 The gospel message signifies the outpouring of God’s grace, mercy, and love—as He provides a means of redemption through the work of Christ. These characteristics reinforce the notion that God does not take delight in executing punishment (cf., Ezekiel 18:23; 18:32; 33:11) and He desires for everyone to come to repentance and receive salvation.
Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” By merely examining the creation, and employing logical reasoning, we can establish the existence of a Creator, while deducing specific attributes about His nature and character.2 As a result, this general revelation provides all people with sufficient evidence to believe in Him (cf., Romans 1:20).
However, God has taken an extra step by revealing Himself through the Old Testament Prophets, in the character, actions, and teachings of Jesus, and through the teachings of the Apostles.3 Technological advancements allow the gospel message to permeate the earth at an unprecedented rate, as the gospel receives constant transmission via radio, television, and the internet. As of 2015, the New Testament (and at least portions of the Old Testament Scriptures) has been translated into over 1,300 languages, with continuing linguistic development work representing an additional 2,300 languages, spanning across 130 countries.4
Moreover, God’s omniscience (cf., Isaiah 46:9-10; Psalm 139:1-4; Psalm 147:4-5; Job 37:16; Hebrews 4:13; 1 John 3:20), allows for prevolitional knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom.5 As a result, God continually takes extraordinary means to reveal himself to those who will repent, profoundly reaching people in even the most remote locations (cf. Jonah; Genesis 19:1-22; Acts 8:26-31, Acts 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:9). God continues this practice today, as He communicates the gospel through dreams, visions, and divine appointments. Therefore, we can rest assured that God—through His divine foreknowledge and infinite power—ensures that everyone who will repent receives the opportunity.
- All Scriptural references are from the HCSB, unless stated otherwise.
- Theologians refer to this as general revelation.
- Theologians refer to this as special revelation.
- “Why Bible Translation?” Wycliffe. Accessed November 01, 2016, https://www.wycliffe.org/about/why.
- This principle is referred to as scientia media or middle knowledge by philosophers and theologians. For a detailed explanation of middle knowledge see William Lane Craig, “Middle Knowledge, Truth–Makers, and the ‘Grounding Objection,’” ReasonableFaith.org, accessed October 01, 2016.