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What happens to people who never get to hear about Jesus?

Never Hear About Jesus

What happens to people who never get to hear about Jesus?

This is a good question because the Bible says that Jesus is the only way to God and we know that all people have not yet heard about Jesus. In fact, we send out missionaries because there are some places where the Gospel has not been preached. Our goal is to spread the Good News to every people group, but we haven’t done that yet. So what about the people that haven’t heard?

The short answer is that they will be judged, but it won’t be based on not having heard about Jesus.

All people will be judged based on their response to God’s creation. Paul argued to the Romans that the essential qualities about God (Romans 1:19-20) are revealed in his creation in much the same way that we can discern things about a great artist or a brilliant inventor. We may not know specifics, but we can know that God is greater than us and that somehow (even if we don’t understand it) we owe our existence to him. Claiming to not have heard about Jesus will not avoid this judgment.

All people need to give glory to God. The failing that Paul speaks of to the Romans is not just that they failed to recognized God’s basic attributes but that they also failed to worship him (Romans 1:21). Instead they worshipped things of their own creation (Romans 1:22-23). Today, most people don’t worship idols of wood or stone, but we do create idols of our own making anytime anything receives more “glory” and attention than God.

God, however, doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). For those who missed the clues in God’s creation, he sent prophets to represent him more directly (Jeremiah 1:9). Then, of course, he sent his own Son, the most direct representation that we have ever had (Hebrews 1:1-2,3; John 14:7).

While all of this is good news, we need to acknowledge the fact that many who do get to hear still refuse to believe (Luke 20:9-16), even when they hear that Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 16:19-31). This breaks God’s heart and stands opposed to his love.
For those who are ready to hear, the Bible gives several indications that God will reveal himself to them. In other words, he will respond to the desire of our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). He will speak to some people in dreams (Matthew 1:20) and he will even move some people to a place where we can hear (Acts 26:17-18). However, he may choose to do it, there is reason to believe that he will give everyone (who is so inclined) an opportunity to believe and he will judge fairly those who reject the various methods of his revelation (creation, prophets, Jesus).

Now don’t leave this article worrying about someone else. Ask yourself what you have done with what you already know?