What Does The Bible Teach About Unbelievers?
The Bible teaches that God has revealed himself to mankind through nature, man’s own conscience, Jesus, and His church. Therefore, man is left without an excuse. Each person is responsible for the revelation that he has. If a person continues to reject the revelation from God, then there is no guarantee he will receive more. If a person never believes in Jesus during his lifetime, the Bible says he will be separated from the presence of God for all eternity.
The Revelation Of God To All Mankind
- God has revealed Himself to mankind through nature. Nature testifies to the existence of God, and if we seek after God we will find Him.
Romans 1:20; Deuteronomy 4:29
- God has given man a conscience, which reveals what is good and bad. The Law of God is written on man’s heart. He knows there is a reason He exists because God has put eternity in his heart.
Romans 2:15; Ecclesiastes 3:11
- God sent Jesus into the world to reconcile us to Himself, and then commissioned us (the church) to be ambassadors for Christ, giving us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18–21
Mankind’s Rejection Of God’s Revelation
- From the very first man, Adam, to modern man, we chose to sin against God. We rejected Him and His revelation to us. Mankind decided to worship the creation more than their Creator. Therefore, God gave us over to a reprobate mind, which led to evil acts worthy of death.
- Even though man rejected God, God still loved man and wanted to redeem him. He sent Jesus to save them. Jesus is the only means in which those worthy of death can be redeemed. Therefore, those who have yet to believe on Jesus live in a state of being “condemned already”.
- Mankind is sinful, unrighteous, prideful, and cursed. His deeds are evil and he doesn’t want them to be exposed, so he rejects Jesus (the only one who can take away his sins).
John 3:19-21; Romans 3:10, 23, 5:12; Galatians 3:10
- Because mankind lives in this sinful state of rejecting God and His way of salvation, God’s wrath abides on them. But we are very thankful that He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, and gives us chances to be saved.
John 3:36; 2 Peter 3:9
Understanding What All Of This Means
- Mankind is so destroyed by sin that we can’t even seek after God, but He has to seek after us. He did this through His Son, Jesus, and if we believe in Him, we will be saved. Romans 3:11; Genesis 3:8–10
- Mankind is responsible for what is revealed to Him. The creation and conscience of man is enough to acknowledge the existence of God. Accepting this fundamental truth will lead to more knowledge of God and hearing the gospel of Jesus.
- Mankind is so sinful that if God doesn’t give him a chance to be redeemed, He would still be holy, perfect, and just. He does give us an opportunity to be saved and hasn’t judged us immediately, but has given us a “grace period” to repent and believe.
Answering Tough Questions
- What if someone doesn’t get saved? They go to hell. They are separated from the presence of God. Ultimately, they will end up in the lake of fire.
- What if someone never hears the gospel or of Jesus? The situation doesn’t change, they go to hell. There is enough “light” given to every man to accept or reject. Those who accept what they have will be given more. (If never hearing the gospel meant that people would automatically be saved, then we shouldn’t tell anyone about the gospel.)
- Is there a chance for salvation after death? They Bible presents no opportunity for people to be saved after death. There only hope is to repent and believe in Jesus during their lifetime.
- What about babies who die and those who are mentally handicapped? The Bible doesn’t speak directly to this issue, but we know that God is good and just. Whatever would be the good and just thing to do in this situation will be done. We can have confidence that God is doing right.
- What about my family who has already died but weren’t Christian? If they never believed in Jesus, then they are in hell. This is hard to accept and think about. They may have heard the gospel or they may not have heard the gospel. We never know who they met, what they saw or heard during their whole lifetime. Regardless, if they didn’t repent and believe in Jesus during their lifetime, God judged them as sinners for rejecting the light they were given, and they are eternally separated from God.
- Why does God send people to hell? He sends people to hell because they have sinned, and the price for sin is death and eternal separation from God. They have committed this crime and He has no obligation to save them. The only way to save them was to give His own life, which He did because of love, but they rejected it. God sending people to hell shows He is just, because He is carrying out the punishment for the crime committed.
- Are you a Christian and are you preaching the gospel? Now is the time to repent and believe in Jesus. Now is the time to preach the gospel to your friends and family. We can’t change the past, we can only change the present and prepare for the future.
Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8
- What are the ways God revealed Himself to mankind?
- How did mankind originally reject God?
- How did God show love to mankind even though we rejected Him?
- What happens to those who don’t believe in Jesus?
- Do you have unbelieving friends and family? What is your responsibility?