Are The Heathen Lost Without The Gospel?
By Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
Has God more than one way of salvation? Are some saved by faith, and others by works? Will some enter Heaven on the ground of sovereign grace, and others because they lived up to the light that they had?
Perhaps these questions may seem needless to my readers. But in view of certain things which are frequently coming under the writer's notice, they are, in his judgment, timely. If a certain theory which receives wide credence today could be established, then would God have TWO ways of salvation: one, salvation by grace through faith, and the other, salvation by character through works. We refer to a view concerning
THE STATE OF THOSE WHO DIE IN HEATHENDOM.
It is estimated that there are fifteen hundred million people on the earth at the present time, and that more than half of these are entirely in the dark concerning the true Way of Life. Probably seven hundred million heathen, at least, now alive on earth today, will die in utter ignorance of the "only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent." And this, in the face of the authoritative command of our Saviour and Lord who said of old and who says to us TODAY, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature" (Mark 16:15)? O, dear Christian Reader, are we not PLAYING at missions? No, that is the wrong way to put it; Have we not BETRAYED our trust? "We were allowed of God to be PUT IN TRUST WITH THE GOSPEL" (I Thessalonians 2:4). God has not permitted the angels to be "put in trust with the gospel," but He has ENTRUSTED it to US, and we have basely BETRAYED our "trust." We heartily sing, "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like ME." And we continue singing it, seeming to care little or nothing whether our fellow in heathen lands hears the "sweet sound" of saving grace, or not. O what abominable selfishness! God have mercy on our brutal callousness and indifference to the eternal destiny of the poor heathen.
But the point of this appeal is blunted for many, for they do not really believe the heathen ARE lost without the gospel. They prefer to listen to the sentiments of their own hearts, rather than to the pointed declarations of Holy Scripture. The belief that seven hundred millions of our fellow men, now on earth, will be tormented in the Lake of Fire FOREVER AND FOREVER, is too dreadful to be entertained. People will say, and people who are considered as sound in the faith, that, if the heathen who have never heard of Christ do the best that they can, if they will live up to the light they have through nature, and conscience, they shall be saved. But this, dear friends, is a lie of the devil. For it, there is not a single plain passage of Scripture. Against it stands every passage in the Bible which defines God's way of salvation.
What saith the Scriptures? Hear them: "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). If then, there is "NONE other name" through which salvation comes, it follows with absolute certainty, that for all in heathendom who know nothing of that Name which is above every name, THERE IS NO SALVATION.
But, says an objector, "Some of the heathen are very religious; they worship their own gods. It is true that they are woefully ignorant; but will not the One who looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart, accept the sacrifices they make unto their idols?" Again, we ask, What saith the Scriptures? Hear them: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, AND NOT TO GOD" (I Corinthians 10:20)
Listen again: "As many as have sinned without law," shall what? Be saved if they have lived up to the light they had by nature, and have followed the dictates of their conscience? No, "as many as have sinned without law, SHALL PERISH without law" (Romans 2:12). Once more: "It is written. There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). The word "righteous" means "up to the required standard." And the Holy Spirit says, "There is NONE righteous." This means that no heathen measures up to the required standard. As the next verse but one goes on to say, "They are ALL gone out of the way."
Let each reader settle it in his or her mind once for all, that EVERY soul out of Christ IS LOST NOW, and will remain lost for all eternity, if they believe not on the Name of the only begotten Son of God. And, asks the Holy Spirit, "How shall they believe in Him of WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD? And how shall they hear without a preacher" (Romans 10:14).
And WHAT will be the fate of all in heathendom who die without Christ? They shall be cast "into afurnace of fire, where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42). They shall be consigned to that fearful place "where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44). They shall be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (II Thessalonians 1:9). Nor is this the worst: "The smoke of their TORMENT ascendeth up FOREVER AND FOREVER: and they have NO REST day nor night" (Revelation 14:11). What think ye, dear reader, of these awful passages, which describe the eternal doom of those who die out of Christ? Can you read them unmoved? Can you read them without your heart being deeply stirred and moved to pity? If so, there is grave reason to believe that you yourself are a STRANGER to the saving grace of God.
And now, Christian reader, what will be your response to this message? You are one of those who have been "put in trust with the gospel." Have you been TRUE to your "trust"? Will you, right now, look to God earnestly seeking His will, and ask Him what He would have you do, in the matter of carrying or sending the gospel to the heathen? May the Lord enlarge your narrow hearts, and fill them with the COMPASSION of Christ towards a lost world.
[From Milburn Cockrell, editor, THE BEREA BAPTIST BANNER, January 15, 1986, pp. 1 & 6. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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