God’s Provision
To Those Who Never Hear The Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.    Proverbs 20:5

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER:  It is not the intent of this study, in any way, to negate the absolute necessity of the cross of Jesus Christ for the redemption of mankind.  No one should ever use this work to dismiss his or her need for Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary.  Rather, it is an answer to the unbelieving and often sarcastic skeptic seeking to justify himself by blaming God.  Even more importantly, it is a ready answer, filled with truth, to the sincere and honest skeptic looking for answers that make sense.  It is also a scriptural defense and reassurance to the believer who has been plagued with the unanswered question, “What will God really do with the millions and millions of souls who have never heard the gospel?”

 

The scriptural truths researched here are intended for one purpose: To declare that God, who created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, is both just and loving.  He will judge each man according to his or her own deeds, taking into account the faith they have in serving Him with a clear conscience.  In other words, though many will never hear the revelation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, most often, because of the distant regions of the world they live in, God the Father will use the only law they have, their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.

 

NOTE: All underlining, highlighting (or both), and any italicization of scriptures listed throughout this study has been added for emphasis. 

 

 

Knowing that there are multitudes justified by their faith, but ignorant of the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, we should be motivated to pray for them, and to go unto the uttermost parts of the earth preaching to them about the kingdom of God.  Jesus cannot fulfill the Father’s promise to restore Israel until we, the body of Jesus Christ, have been his witness to them.

 

 

INTRODUCTION – THE CHRISTIAN AND THE HONEST SKEPTIC

 

We begin our introduction with the honest and sincere, yet skeptical man.  He is not an insidious or sinister individual, nor is his mind completely closed to the concept of a caring God.  Time and time again he seeks for a productive conversation that will help him to reconcile two seemingly contradictory concepts…Gods’ goodness and Gods’ severity. 

 

Unfortunately, all too often his search leads him into conflicting and unproductive arguments with born-again Christians.  Their seemingly circular reasoning is interpreted as one more futile attempt to convince him of something he must simply take by “faith.”

 

Let’s suppose for just a moment in time, that the Spirit of God allows us to peer into the mind of this man.  He is unaware that we have this unique opportunity.  As you read on, try to put yourself in his shoes.  Throw out every critical thought, bias, or preconceived notion.  If you are able, see his reasoning from a perspective that makes him a candidate for the gospel. 

 

Also realize that he is very analytical, and unless something makes good sense to him, he simply will not accept it by faith.  This is only fair, and it is the scriptural thing to do.  A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out (Pro. 20:5).  If you are a man or woman who can draw up the plans within the skeptic’s heart, you are one who has been counseled by the LORD.

 

 

When we use the phrase, “the word of God” from the Greek New Testament, the term “word” originates as follows:

 

 

God has put within mankind the ability to reason, to compute, and to analyze. Often Christians expect the skeptic to throw out his God-given common sense and blindly embrace whatever they have to say by faith.  A man of understanding however will be a good listener.  He will seek to identify with the viewpoint of other people whenever he discusses the topic of God.  He will wait for God to breath His wisdom into him before engaging his mouth.

 

Here are our skeptics’ thoughts, laid out in sequence for us to review.  These thoughts will precede his forthcoming conversation with a born-again Christian:

 

 

 

 

The skeptic’s logic is based on a sound premise.  His premise is that God is an all knowing and loving Deity who dispenses justice without partiality.  He believes that such a Deity exists, and that those who follow Him will be of one mind and heart with His precepts.  For example, a true follower of God is the kind of individual that would treat others the way he or she would want to be treated. 

 

Time and time again born-again Christians have told this skeptic that anyone who has not accepted Christ as their personal Savior will spend eternity in the lake of fire, whether they’ve heard the gospel or not.  This seems preposterous to his logical mind.  He reasons, “There simply must be sincere God-loving people in the world who are merely unfortunate victims of ignorance.  Why would God judge these folks, especially when their thoughts and actions reflect a genuine love for their Creator?”

 

He asks his Christian counterpart, “If someone has never had the chance to hear about Jesus Christ, why then should they be punished?  How can one be so easily condemned if he fails to embrace a concept he has no knowledge of?   It makes absolutely no sense to me, no sense at all!  How can that be considered just and fair?  Only a spiteful, mean, and tyrannical God would set up such a system for salvation.”

 

Further reinforcing the skeptics’ conclusion is the response he gets.  His Christian friend immediately shifts into a defensive posture.  His muscles tense, the veins in his neck and forehead bulge as he tries to restrain his anger.  He projects the kind of body language that says, “Watch out mister, that’s MY God you’re talking about here!”  Our once persuadable skeptic, unaware that he has just touched another ‘holy grail’ of Christian theology, is taken back a bit by his countenance.

 

With his verbal sword drawn, the born-again believer is ready for battle.  He is ready to pounce on this heretical thinking, and to cut off the ear the High Priest’s servant if necessary (remember Peter?).  What he does not realize is this: If he slices off the man’s right ear with his sword, he will also cut off the man’s ability to hear his gospel message!  Oh that Jesus were present to pick up the man’s bloodied and wounded ear of hearing.

 

In complete disregard for the skeptics’ reasoning, the fired-up Christian launches a valiant verbal assault to protect the reputation of his God, “No, God is not mean and spiteful.  He does not hate anyone!  But you must understand that God is holy, and He cannot fellowship with sin.  The Bible says that everyone has sinned, and fallen short of His glory.  John 3:16 says that God gave His only begotten son as a sacrifice for sins, and that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish, but have eternal life.  This proves what a loving God He really is.  Your problem is you are so worried about people in other countries, when it is really your own soul you should be worried about.  Forget about what happens to people who never hear the gospel, and just decide what YOU will do with Jesus.”

 

The poor skeptic; all he wanted was some reality; a wee bit of logic.  Instead he gets a thirty-second drill on the plan of salvation, and a tongue lashing at that!

 

“You haven’t adequately addressed my line of questioning,” he contends, “ If your God is so all-powerful, and fills heaven and earth, as you believe, why doesn’t He make certain that everyone has at least had the opportunity to hear about Jesus?  Doesn’t God at least give consideration to those who may serve Him with sincerity of heart, even if they have not heard about Christ?  What if, having never heard about the commandments in the Bible, they instinctively obey its teachings?  You know, like, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’  Doesn’t God at least take this into account, even if they never heard about His son Jesus?”

 

Instead of carefully listening, and weighing the skeptic’s argument, the born-again believer launches into his next set of memorized doctrinal replies, “It is not God’s responsibility to bring the good news of the gospel to people.  He has given that responsibility to the church.  Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples.”

 

Next comes the irrefutable question from the skeptic who will soon find himself talking to another Christian robot, “Well, have you Christians made sure that everyone has heard?  I have read numerous statistics that there are still millions of the world’s population who haven’t heard your message.

 

At this point, the Christian fumbles for an answer that will convince the man, or at least appease his seemingly logical resistance, “Well, only God knows who has, or has not accepted Jesus.  Only He can pass final judgment, but I know that He will always do what is right.  I tell you again my friend, you only need to be concerned about one person…you.  What will you do with Jesus?”

 

The conversation is now permanently terminated, and the born-again Christian walks away confidently reassuring himself that he has planted a seed of truth in the skeptics’ heart.  “At least I never compromised with that guy, I told him the truth just like it is!  Now it’s in God’s hands, and I’ll just water that seed with prayer.”  Deep inside his heart however, the Christian knows he does not have the answer to this man’s questions, and it bothers him that the scriptures seem so obscurely silent on such a vital issue.

 

“Why doesn’t God address this subject in the Bible?” muses the Christian to himself, “After all, maybe that skeptic has a point.  Oh well, I’ll never know, so I’ll just leave it in God’s hands.  It’s not that important anyhow.” 

 

Off goes Mr. Christian, unaware that if he were only to seek his answer through careful study of the scripture, he would see that God HAS addressed this topic.  In fact, the entire Bible, from cover-to-cover speaks of this very topic!  More important, it is imperative to understand God’s nature through what has been written and what He has revealed in the scriptures. 

 

If Mr. Christian had studied the scripture he might have had a ready answer for the skeptic.  Then instead of reassuring his wounded ego, he may have been successful in TRULY planting a seed from God’s word.

 

 

Meanwhile, the sincere and honest skeptic walks away from one more frustrating encounter with another born-again Christian.  His disappointing encounter reaffirms his opinion that most Christians speak from a defensive position of personal bias than from common sense and logic. 

 

“I want to believe in a God,” he thinks, “ but I want to believe in a God that makes sense.  How can I entrust my entire life to a deity that would be so harsh and cruel?  If I decided to follow such a God, would I become as harsh, rigid and unrelenting as the one I follow?  Everyone has their own religion, and Christianity seems to be just as exclusive in its doctrinal prejudice as all the rest of the worlds’ religions.”

 

Let’s not be too hard on either the skeptic or the Christian.  Both are doing the best they can, considering their varied backgrounds.  The Christian is trying to share his faith with limited knowledge; but at least he shares it (unlike many who hide their light).  The skeptic will continue his search, and it is our hope that, in part, this study of the scriptures will help him.

 

UNDERSTANDING GOD FROM CREATION

 

 

From the beginning of creation, human beings have understood that there is an all-powerful and divine being who made the world, the heavens, and all that is in them.  Across the globe many tribes and peoples have believed in the “great spirit” (e.g. American Indians, African tribesmen and various nomads) and have honored God in various ways.  Some have, in ignorance of the scriptures, or in defiance of the truth, distorted the concept of the Almighty by making iconoclastic images of Him. 

 

There is something within each of us that cries out, “Yahweh!” (He is).  That “something” is our human spirit, given to each individual by God.  He breathed His life into mankind at creation and has been doing so ever since that time.

 

 

Our human spirit is the part of our existence that identifies with our Creator.  It is the part of us that gives life to the human body.  When the human spirit leaves, so does the life.

 

 

When God gave man a human spirit, it was as though He gave him a sixth sense; He set eternity in the hearts of men.

 

 

Adam was not present when the Almighty one created the heavens and the earth; yet upon receiving the breath of life, there was an instinctive response to the Creator.  Adam walked and talked with God in the cool of the garden.  If you read the first and second chapter of the Book of Genesis, God speaks to man the moment He creates them.  He tells them to be fruitful, and multiply, and commands the man to cultivate the earth (Gen. 2:15).

 

So the LORD God begins His human creation as agrarians (that’s a fancy word for a farmer).  Today, we have, as a society, become far removed from the reality of tilling the soil, planting seeds, fertilizing and composting and watering it, and watching God grow a tiny seed into a fruitful plant from which we derive pleasure and nourishment.  Most Christian folks that have done any gardening at all know all too well how truly spiritual it can be to tend crops.

 

 

There are, in most other parts of the world today, many societies that still toil for their food by planting and harvesting crops, picking fruits in jungles or native trees and vines.  Furthermore, in these agrarian cultures, the people don’t have all the conveniences of modern society; no cars, washing machines, hot running water, electricity, and so many things we take for granted. 

 

Many of these cultures have an advantage over the modernized Westerner.  They spend much more time in communication with each other, and in reflection on the importance of God.  While they are often uneducated by our standards, they possess an inner dependence on their Creator for the rain and sun to grow their crops, to protect them from famine, disease and danger, and to teach them His mighty ways.  Often they are much closer knit in their relationships because of shared water wells, walking instead of driving automobiles, and frequent close contact with each other.

 

 

God instructs these uncomplicated people because they have a simplistic faith in an immense and beneficial Deity.  Being so far removed from technology and the advancements of the 21st century, their faith seems almost archaic or prehistoric to our refined and intellectual Western minds. 

 

When missionaries eventually reach these supposed “heathen” people in distant and remote parts of the world, they are oftentimes stunned at the sweet nature, and the strong faith that is already well established.  Quite often the tribal people are very childlike in their trouble-free ways.  If those who evangelize them use wisdom and cultural sensitivity, they readily embrace the sweet savior Jesus.  They are the ones Jesus spoke of:

 

 

Why should the aforementioned missionaries be so surprised?  It is because our deep-seated appetite for theology often makes us arrogant and puffed-up.  We think that we have an exclusive market on this whole God and Jesus concept.  How shortsighted we are!  Our seminaries, universities and colleges (institutes of so-called “higher learning”) have done little more than pollute the minds of our youth with antagonism and skepticism towards the very One who gave them the minds they have to think with! 

 

Even the die-hard atheistic evolutionist cannot explain the origin and intricacies of the human mind, and the essence of life itself.  But the simple farmer in a distant and faraway land may be far more prepared for the coming of the Lord than the intellectuals of the universities and colleges.

 

 

I highly recommend two books that have impacted my life and view of just such a people.  The first book is called, “Eternity in Their Hearts,” and the second book is called, “Peace Child.”  In ‘Peace Child,’ the missionaries who first brought the gospel to a civilization of cannibals in New Guinea had to almost completely redesign their approach in presenting the message of Jesus.  Culturally, the Bible character named Judas, (who betrayed Jesus), was viewed as a great hero by the natives.  I will let you find and read the book to discover how the missionaries overcame this hurdle; you will be forever changed when you experience the events that unfold in this true story.

 

While these simple folks have a working knowledge of a God, their mode of worship is often skewed, distorted, and frequently pantheistic.  They are lacking a plum line of truth that can only be found in the scriptures.  Many of them are as true to their Creator as they can be, having only their human conscience and finite minds to guide them. 

 

That is why Satan can take advantage of them by implanting their minds and hearts with superstitious beliefs, and weave various forms of witchcraft into what pure faith remains.  How immense a calling it is for those willing to lay down their lives in devotion to the descendents of Abraham; who are willing to leave the comfort of their monolithic Christian edifice, and live in a mud-floored grass hut for years, in order that they might disciple others.

 

It is by faith that we humans have the understanding of a divine Creator.  True scientific knowledge will compliment such faith, contrary to what the so-called learned and “wise” professors of our institutes of higher learning proclaim.  By faith we know that God used an unseen microscopic atomic structure to create the visible things on earth out of nothing.

 

 

There is an element of secular and religious civilization throughout the world that knows there is a God through His magnificent creation.  Once I climbed the peak of a glacier high atop the Olympic Mountain range in Washington State.  There, on top of the world, my breath was taken away by the awesomeness of God revealed in His beautiful handiwork.  Everything in me cried, “Glory!” 

 

The only words I could utter in that place were, “Yahweh” (He is).  I had a foretaste of what Moses must have felt when God told him that he stood on holy ground.  The only way I can explain what I felt, there atop the snowy peaks, looking straight down a shear drop of over one thousand feet, and feeling the power of the winds at such heights was, “There is too much of God’s presence here in this holy place for my puny physical human existence to handle.”

 

 

 

By using the example above I am not advocating pantheism (the worship of nature).  I am simply pointing out what many people recognize and distinguish about God’s invisible attributes and divine nature discovered in and through His creation.  For some, it is an occasion each day to be in awe of and feel affection for Him.  Still others have rejected the divine Architect, and have worshipped and served the creatures rather than the Creator who is blessed forever.

 

 

The whole creation, from a tiny ant to the gigantic blue whale, from vast constellations of planets and stars to the tiniest meteors, from a babbling mountain stream to roaring of the waves that spray a cool mist as they crash upon the sands of the beach, from the intricate tunnels and burrows of the prairie dog, to the magnificent canyons and lush green jungle, from the pure artesian spring bubbling up from deep within the earth, to the mammoth Niagara waterfalls, from the tiny fingers and toes of a newborn baby to the complexities of the human vascular and neurological system operating within the human body; all these, as well as billions upon billions of other examples in creation testify of the Almighty.  His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that every human being is without an excuse in acknowledging his or her Creator.

 

For those who have not embraced pantheistic ideology, and who revere the Creator they see expressed in His great and marvelous wonders, their faith is accounted to them as righteousness.  Though they have yet to hear of the liberating message of the Christ, and many never hear, those who express their love for God by loving their neighbor as themselves are a law unto themselves.

 

These have yet to meet the mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus, who can bring them into oneness with the Father as sons and daughters of the Most High.  That which is, “known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  Their human spirit comes from God and bears witness to a Creator.  Once they have made a heart confession of Jesus, they can partake of the glories of salvation found only in him.

 

 

 

   Faith At Work Before The Law

 

Have you ever read the “hall of faith” in the Book of Hebrews, chapter eleven?  If not, before you continue, stop and carefully read this beloved chapter.  It tells of the faith of men and women long before Jesus was born.  In fact, the first part of the chapter introduces us to a faith that was demonstrated hundreds of years before God gave His Law through Moses to Israel.

 

Consider this: Jesus was not born until 4000 years after the creation of man.  With this in mind, why does Yahweh include in His covenant of eternal life the believers in Hebrews eleven?  Why are they referred to as, “men of old” who gained God’s “approval” through their faith?  Let us briefly analyze the list of people mentioned in Hebrews chapter eleven:

 

 

 

 

 

All these mentioned above, and many more “men of old,” were justified by their faith; living, breathing, ‘active in their everyday life’ faith.  Not the wishy-washy Christian faith that breeds apathy, self-righteousness and contempt for those who do not conform to their brand of hypocrisy.  We do well if we take to heart their simple example of trust in a loving Creator who loved and communicated with them as friends.

 

 

Judged Without The Law

 

Because God demands justice, there is a law He has instituted to insure that no partiality is shown to any group of people, or individual person.  Often in scripture when the word “law” is mentioned, our attention is focused on the Ten Commandments, and the other statutes given to Moses by God. 

 

Being properly informed, a believer should have a healthy respect for God’s laws written in ink.  However, God has made provision for all men, whether knowledgeable or ignorant of His written code of regulations, commandments and statutes.

 

 

God makes no distinction between those who have the Law (of Moses) and those who don’t.  By this we mean that He impartially judges the Jewish convert and Gentile convert based upon the individual law they have.  For the Jew, there is accountability to the written commandment.  For the Gentile, there is accountability to his or her sense of right and wrong, however accurate or however misguided it may be.

 

 

On the day that God uses a man to judge the world, every individual person will give an account to Him.  We often wonder, “Just exactly how will God judge those who don’t have the word of God?”  Romans 2:14-16 gives us the answer.  It is only those Gentiles (or “heathen” as we Westerners often identify them) who instinctively practice the things written in God’s law that can properly be labeled by the Almighty as, “a law unto themselves.”

 

We can demonstrate by giving the example of a clan of nomads that are a “law unto themselves” and by contrasting them with a similar clan who is NOT a law unto themselves.  For our example, we will use an ethnic tribal group living in the uttermost northern region of Mongolia.  They have no central religion like Buddhism, or Islamic belief in the Koran, nor do they follow a shaman or spiritual sage.

 

While both clans in this tribe have the same genetic characteristics, their behavior is as polarized as two magnets facing each other with reverse polarity.  Clan number one is a kind, gentle, and benevolent people.  They are willing to share what is theirs, without complaint, without hoarding, even in the toughest of times.  When food is scarce, or clothing hard to come by, they divide what they own, and distribute it among themselves and the even another clan if necessary.

 

On the other hand, clan number two is more selfish and unrestrained.  Theirs’ is a motto of, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”  They would just as soon see clan number one perish in the freezing cold than to share their extra furs and blankets.  They hoard their food, and would cunningly pilfer or defraud clan number one out of its goods and possessions at every opportunity.

 

Both clans have a faith in the Great Spirit.  Both know Him as their Creator and Provider.  However, clan number two is considered to be the more “spiritual” of the two clans.  They have more tribal “elders” (sound familiar?) and “wise men” than clan number one, and so have greater authority in civil and spiritual matters. 

 

Both clans are Abraham’s descendents, though neither has ever heard or known anything of the Law of Moses, or the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Which one do you think will stand justified before God?  If you said, “Clan number one,” you have answered correctly.  Clan number one shows, “ the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness.” (READ Luke 7:40-50)

 

God is more concerned with the heart’s response to Him than He is with the letter of the Law.  To Him, the one who shows mercy will always triumph over the one who judges another by the law. 

 

I have a dear friend who once bore her heart before a congregation of Christian believers (so-called).  This impoverished woman, (who is rich in God!), entered a church with one broken shoe, and left with one broken heart.  She had graciously pointed out how blessed these people were to have one another’s fellowship. 

 

Nevertheless in the course of her testimony, she used some street language that offended these whitewashed sepulchers.  Like boisterous gongs they tossed out the essence and significance of her testimony, and unmercifully flagellated her for weeks with their tongues set on fire by hell itself.  Focused on the letter rather than the spirit of God’s law, they spewed forth death.  Like the Jew who boasts in his or her knowledge of the scriptures, too many Christians exhibit a self-righteous hypocrisy that violates every aspect of God’s commandments.

 

 

These and many other congregations are like the unrelenting Jews of Jesus’ day who claimed to follow God, but failed to reveal His character in tenderness and compassion.  The apostle James’ words shall surely sting their ears on the Day of Judgment lest they repent in sackcloth and ashes (so to speak).

 

 

The law of liberty is the conclusion and fulfillment of the written code.  Many are those who have never entered the door of a church building, yet behave more like a believer is supposed to than most Christians do!  How will God judge them?  Is not He who gave the Law also the One who will dispense it in justice and mercy? 

 

If someone fulfills God’s righteous requirements, but never perceives a true revelation of Jesus Christ in a living written epistle, will God take this into consideration?

 

 

 

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED?

 

Have you ever wondered what will happen to all of the millions of people who have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Statistically it can easily be proven that there are many parts of the world where the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been preached to every individual. 

 

There are Muslim nations that are so rabidly antichrist that missionaries have never had an opportunity to share the good news there.  There are very remote parts of the China, vast hills and prairies of Kenya, and jungle country of the Amazon and Congo, along with massive continent of Africa, and there are the millions and millions of square miles of the region known as Siberia, where isolation from the rest of the civilized world has made communicating the good news impossible. 

 

Stop and think for a few moments; contemplate these examples.  Do you honestly believe in your heart that the small clans of Siberian people living in a harsh and cruel wilderness, where the risk of death is ever-present, have no faith in God?  And what about tribal cultures throughout the islands of the Pacific Rim?

 

All mankind came from just two people, Adam and Eve.  Isn’t it quite possible that nomadic tribesmen in all parts of the globe today worship the great Creator God of their ancestors?  Their ancestors learned of the Great Spirit from their forefathers, and so on, until their lineage is traced back to Adam and Eve.  Isn’t it also possible that this Creator they serve is to them, the same God who made Adam and Eve?

 

In Genesis we read that Adam lived to be 930 years old and he had other children other than Cain, Abel and Seth.  How many children and grandchildren did he have in a nearly one thousand-year period of time?  By comparison, the United States of America is less than three hundred years old and has grown to a population of less than 240 million.

To illustrate from scripture, we will start with the first generations descended from Adam and Eve in the fifth chapter of Genesis.  While it is the descendents of Noah from which the current population of the world subsists, this account is given to open our understanding of the diversity of people that can come from one man.  From Adam to his furthest descendent would be passed the oral history of the creation of the earth and its’ Divine Architect.

 

Genesis 5:1-32

 

1.         This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.

2.         He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man."

3.         When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

4.         After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

5.         Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

6.         When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh.

7.         And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.

8.         Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

9.         When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan.

10.     And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters.

11.     Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

12.     When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel.

13.     And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters.

14.     Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.

15.     When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared.

16.     And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters.

17.     Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.

18.     When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch.

19.     And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

20.     Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.

21.     When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.

22.     And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.

23.     Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years.

24.     Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

25.     When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech.

26.     And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters.

27.     Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.

28.     When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son.

29.     He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed."

30.     After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters.

31.     Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

32.     After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.  (NIV)

 

It is likely these generations of people never knew God by His covenant name Yahweh.  God revealed Himself by this name to Moses, in order that he might to lead Israel out of Egypt and through the arid wilderness for forty years.  We know from the Old Testament that the Hebrews were not the most prolific or abundant of the nomads and other civilizations living at this time.  One example of this is the account of ten spies that crossed over the Jordan River and into Canaan and found many other people in the land, including the “giants.”

 

 

There must be people all over the world whose hearts are towards the One true and living God, and who, if confronted with the gospel would readily embrace Jesus as the Christ of God.  If not, why send missionaries and evangelists to such peoples?

 

New discoveries are being made every year by archaeologists and paleontologists.  They have discovered many ancient civilizations that have recorded mention of a great flood.  Evidence has been revealed in the wood, stone and parchment inscriptions, the walls of caves, and atop of massive stone pyramids.  Isn’t it extremely probable that some of these inhabitants loved and served the God of Noah?  And yet, for reasons unknown, the Great Commission has never reached the hungering hearts of their descendents living in proximity to these archaeological discoveries.

 

The examples given above of peoples, tribes and nations who have a recorded historical belief in God are but a drop in the bucket when compared to the thousands unmentioned here.  While the New Testament makes it very clear that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), and his blood shed at Calvary is the only means by which a person can have access to God as his or her heavenly Father (John 14:6), it is time to give a scriptural answer regarding the eternal fate of those God-fearing peoples who will never hear the gospel in their lifetime.

 

Furthermore, since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ many centuries have past.  During much of this time the Roman Catholic Church controlled the majority of the Western world, and where intolerance for any other faith outside of Rome was punishable by death.  While the Catholic Church controlled the civic and religious domain of Spain, Portugal, Italy and other European countries, little was done to bring glad tidings of the true gospel to those hungering and thirsting for the bread of life.  There was much proselytizing done to convert the masses to Catholicism, a clearly unscriptural religion at that.

 

Catholic priests, monks, friars, prelates, bishops, archbishops and an entourage of unholy men masqueraded as pious eunuchs for the sake of the papal pontiffs.  These pressured the peasant and other commoners for indulgences, penance for sin, and every manner of avarice to build the ornate monolithic giant cathedrals of Rome’s religious empire. 

 

These massive stone buildings were and are nothing more than spiritual graveyards that house evil spirits, even though they were represented as the house of God.  We can only wonder what the average man or woman, whose meager life savings paid for such opulence, thought of the system behind it.

 

Certainly there had to be millions of people that could see through the hypocrisy of this superficial veneer, and who served the one true God in their hearts.  However, outside of the groups of people we read in church history books, little is known of God’s personal dealings with mankind during the murderous reign of the popes.  Whole cities and societies, such as the Lollards, the Anabaptists, the Waldenses and others, who found salvation in Jesus Christ, died as martyrs at the command of evil Popes and other officials of the Church of Rome.  Therefore it is almost certain that only a small percentage of the populace knew the complete plan of salvation.

 

Imagine a world where only the Roman Catholic faith rules, with its many blasphemous doctrines and secret societies like the Jesuits and the Cult of Mary.  In this environment of papal despotism and inaccessibility for the common man to own or read the Bible, surely the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ was cloaked in religious darkness. 

 

There may have been millions of people throughout the Dark Ages who held to a sincere faith in God without having the full understanding of the good news of Jesus the Christ.  Does it really make sense that our God, who is just and righteous in all His ways, would punish those God-fearing people who loved Him for the sole reason the word of God was not available to them? 

 

It seems more just and fair that He would damn the wicked leaders of Catholicism’s’ century-old reign, for these were responsible for intentionally withholding the word of God from the people.  These were driven and motivated by greed, lust for control and power, men for whom the judgment of eternal darkness had long been marked our beforehand.

 

 

 

 “AND I HAVE OTHER SHEEP, WHICH ARE NOT OF THIS FOLD”

 

How will God judge those in faraway lands, in remote areas of the earth where neither missionary nor Bible have ever been?  Is it possible that Jesus’ “other sheep” include them?  After all, we know that the other sheep spoken of in John 10:16 include the Gentiles.

 

 

The “other” sheep Jesus speaks of here are the Gentiles.  Gentiles were ethnic peoples who were not included in all the provisions of the covenant that Yahweh had made with His chosen people Israel in the Law given through Moses.  God has never based His relationship with man on the Law.  The Law was given to Moses from the Highest Authority for the purpose of guiding the people.

 

The Law was not just a book of “do not’s” but also of commandments what to “do.”  But the Law was only intended for obedience by those whose heart and motive for obeying it was love for God, and love for their fellow man.  Otherwise, the Law became subject to misuse, especially in the hands of leadership.  Such was the case with the Pharisees that Jesus had chastised.

 

 

 

In John chapter six, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of Israel.  He accuses them of being “hirelings” (John 6:12-13) who were not “concerned” about the flock of God.  A hireling is someone who shepherds a flock for the pay he will get, not because he loves the sheep.  How familiar the parallels are with so many Christian ministers today!

 

 

In sharp contrast to the Pharisees, Jesus refers to himself as the “good shepherd.”  Unlike the religious egotists standing before him, who neither knew nor really cared for the sheep, Jesus says, “I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father.”  Jesus knows who belongs to him just like his Father knows that Jesus is His own child.  What does this mean?  Is there an application to the provision God has made for those who have never heard the gospel?

 

Jesus knows his own, and his own know him.  They “hear” his “voice” and follow after him, because he calls them all by name.  They will not follow the voice of a stranger, but will flee from it instead (READ John 10:1-10 at this point please). 

 

Likewise, Jesus knew the voice of his Father God, and he could distinguish it from the voice of Satan and religious hypocrites.  God the Father knew Jesus, because Jesus was his only begotten son.  There was a unique relationship there, unlike any other.  Jesus spoke face to face with God as Moses did, but without having to veil or hide his face.  He did only the things that were pleasing to his Father, and for that reason, God always listened to him.

 

 

God has other son and daughters, although He cannot call them His “only begotten.”

 

 

In a very literal sense, every human being who survives childbirth has the breath of God in him or her.  Although He has given human beings the ability to procreate, life itself is generated from God.  The human spirit is what gives life to the body, and that human spirit comes directly from God.

 

 

 

 

Jesus knew that there were many God-fearing Greeks and other Gentiles whose faith in God was more acceptable than that of these religious Jews.  Though these ethnic groups of people had no Divine Law given to them, they followed the precepts written down in the Law out by expressing their desire to please the One in Whom they had placed their faith.  Not belonging to the flock of Israel as a religious sect, but more importantly, these God-fearing Gentiles were a part of the true flock of God.  Why?  Because their faith was identical to that of the greatest example of faith the people of Israel had…Abraham. 

 

 

They had not completely lost the light of life given to them by God.  In awe, in fear and in faith they are devout.  Though they had no God-breathed scriptures to assure them that one day a Messiah would come and deliver them from the slavery of sin, with its’ punitive condemnation, they cling to the hope of seeing the One they long to please each day.  Though never having heard the gospel, these are the people for whom God has made provision. 

 

Today, there are still many parts of the global community that have yet to hear the good news of the message of Jesus Christ.  There are still remaining millions of “other sheep” to which we must preach the gospel.  While they are God-fearing, and their faith is accepted by the Almighty, they have yet to enter into the New Covenant, a better one, in which they can know their Creator as “Abba Father.”

 

 

 

You see, without Jesus, these “other sheep” cannot have a relationship with God as sons and daughters.  Theirs’ is more of a ‘slave-to-his-master relationship.  They are under the Law, albeit is not the Law of Moses.  They are a “law unto themselves” because the life of faith they live before God is demonstrative of the works of the Law.

 

 

These peoples, though never having heard the Law, or the message of Christ, are fulfilling the summation of the entire Law.

 

 

Doubtless there are many villages in distant lands where the people live according to the dictates of Roman 13:8-10.  This is not to say that because they sincerely love their neighbor as themselves that they are not in need of the atonement with God found only in Jesus’ blood sacrifice.  We are merely pointing out that there is a faith that is outside of the Law that is in one accord with the spirit of the Law. 

 

This is not to say that faith in the Muslim god ‘Allah’ or the Hindu gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, Siva and Brahma are acceptable as true worship.  Buddha’s teachings will not lead one to a genuine faith in the Creator, nor will the witchdoctors of Africa and the Caribbean Islands.  Those devout Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus who cling to the doctrines of demons are not the “other sheep” to whom Jesus refers.

 

To whom would Jesus command us to “go” into all the nations making disciples?  Would it be to those who have no knowledge of God at all, and would only scoff at and deny their lord and Master Jesus the Christ?  No!  Jesus himself, the Head of the church and his body of believers came to be a light to the Gentiles.

 

 

Unlike so many in today’s Christian community who are condescending towards the faith of those “outside” of the churches, Jesus offered the Gentiles hope.  He did not break off their battered and ruined lives, or snuff out the last smoldering bit of faith that they had.  He brought grace and truth, and added it to their already worn down faith, and many came to believe in him as the Christ, the chosen one of God.  Jesus did not avoid those steeped in sin; rather, he was called a friend of sinners.

 

How much more should we, as the hands and feet of Jesus’ spiritual body, be at work together with him as co-laborers!  Instead of assuming that someone’s faith is useless because it does not conform to the four spiritual laws, or the doctrinal “correctness” of the legalistic and self-righteous church folks, why don’t we strengthen the feeble hands, encourage the downtrodden, and give the faith they already have in God a living revelation of the risen Savior?

 

It is certain that there will be those who read this study, and will become enraged and jealous.  “Who does this man think he is?  What right does he have to teach this new doctrine?  Should not he first have consulted with the other pastors, ministers and Bible teachers in the area?  He is teaching false doctrine!  He is teaching that there are those who have no need for Christ!”

 

Oh foolish man or woman who would make such an accusation.  You have become like the Jews that Paul rebuked because he taught a way of salvation outside of the narrow confines of Judaism.  You are trying to make everyone conform to your brand of organized Christianity, instead of seeing this as a clarion call to believers to, “Go!  Seek and save that which is lost!”  You think that they can only be “saved” a certain way…yours.  Listen to the apostle Paul’s words, and let them bring conviction and repentance.

 

 

Jesus wants to make all of these ethnic groups “one flock” guided and led by “one shepherd.”  That is why He commanded us, his church, to preach this gospel unto every nation (the word ‘nation’ comes from the Greek word, ‘ethnos’ meaning ethnic groups), and then he shall return to rule and reign upon the earth.

 

 

 

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IS REVEALED FROM FAITH TO FAITH

 

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ preached by the apostle Paul is the power of God for all who believe, whether Jew or Greek (i.e. Gentile).  In the truth of the gospel, God’s righteousness is revealed from “faith to faith.”  What does this mean?  Abraham never knew Jesus, never had the Law, and yet his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.

 

 

Galatians 3:5-9 proves that the Spirit of God shall bless the “nations” who share the faith of Abraham.  Though Abraham never shared the glory of the revelation of Jesus Christ in his earthly lifetime, he still had the “gospel” preached to him “beforehand.”

 

Who was it that preached the gospel to Abraham?  Was it one of the disciples of Jesus?  Was it an Old Testament prophet?  Of course not!  Abraham received his gospel directly from the Spirit of God.   Jesus would not be born for many centuries in the future (long after Abraham’s time). 

 

With this in mind, what “gospel” did Abraham have preached to him “beforehand?”  To find answers to these intriguing questions, we must return to the book of beginnings…Genesis.

 

 

We have asked two basic questions:

 

  1. Who preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham?
  2. What was the nature of the gospel that Abraham had preached to him?

 

Gen.17: 1-7 says that Yahweh (the LORD) appeared to Abraham, and “God (Elohim) talked to him.”  Yahweh is Elohim of course.  The answer to question number one is that the LORD God talked to Abraham.  No human being brought the “gospel” to Abraham; it was the Almighty Himself.

 

The words “gospel beforehand” mentioned in Gal. 3:8 means, “to announce glad news in advance.”  God spoke with Abram face to face as a man would his friend.  The name “Abram” means, “Father.”  Because of the obedient faith demonstrated by Abram, God changed his name to “Abraham” meaning “father of a multitude.”  This name change fits with the content of the glad news given to him in advance of its’ fulfillment.

 

The gospel God gave Abraham can be simply delineated into four parts:

 

  1. I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
  2. I will make you exceedingly fruitful.
  3. I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.
  4. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you. throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

 

The first promise God made has been fulfilled; Abraham DID become the father of a multitude of ethnic clans (i.e. nations).  Through his lineage comes the entire population of Israel, Palestine, and nearly all of the Arab states.  Through his son Isaac, and his son Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) comes the descendents of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The ethnic groups we refer to as “Jews” today are all descended from Abraham.  Of course one must be careful to distinguish the religion of Judaism from the bloodline of Abraham.  A person can practice Judaism without being related to his lineage.

 

Some people have a very limited concept of the locations of Jewish habitat today.  Because of the focus in the media, especially television, our Western view is that most Jews live in or near the borders of the nation of Israel.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, even the author of this study has Jewish blood, and yet I have never been anywhere near Israel or the Middle East!

 

While we do not have the time or writing space to trace where the Jewish people have been dispersed, suffice it to say that they come from every corner of the earth

 

As a small example, think back in time to World War Two (WWII).  Adolph Hitler sought to exterminate the Jewish population in the countries that his brutal armies had conquered.  Jews from Poland, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and so on were tortured, imprisoned, or systematically exterminated by horrific means.  The only reason for mention of this atrocity is because most people in the West are familiar with the historical events of WWII.  The example of Jewish people residing throughout Europe is just the tip of the iceberg. 

 

There are Jewish descendents from the line of Abraham all across the continent of Africa, across the United States of America, in South America, North America, and the list goes on.  Only God Himself knows the genetic path of Abraham’s lineage, but it is vast, diverse and expansive.

 

Abraham had another son Ishmael through Hagar, the handmaid of his wife Sarai (later called Sarah; READ Genesis 16:1-16).  Sarai, being unable to conceive, faltered in her faith to believe Yahweh for a male child to carry on Abrams’ seed, so she brought her Egyptian maid Hagar to Abram to have sexual relations with him. Hagar did as Sarai commanded her, and she became pregnant with a son.

 

Sarai then despised Hagar for what she had done, and treated her very harshly.  This harsh treatment caused the pregnant Hagar to flee into the desert wilderness, where she would surely die without any means of support.  But the Almighty took pity upon her, and He sent His angel to her with a message and a promise. 

 

 

Ishmael’s descendents have become too many to number, just as the LORD promised Hagar.  Today, the entire Arab population and a significant amount of the Egyptian population can be traced directly to the lineage of Ishmael. 

 

The descendents of Ishmael’s loins blanket the earth, but there is a unique characteristic of the peoples who live in or near the Middle Eastern nations.  Countries such as Libya, Egypt, Syria, Turkey Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Somalia, the Palestinian settlements, and so on have always been in areas where one leader’s hand has been “against everyone,” and “everyone against him,” just as the angel of Yahweh promised Hagar would happen to Ishmael.

 

The most recent and notable example of a leader who is a, “wild donkey of a man,” whose, “hand {will be} against everyone,” and, “everyone's hand” is, “against him” is Usama bin Laden.   Further evidence is the fact that Usama bin Laden is living, “to the east of all his brothers.”  You can’t go much further east than Afghanistan in relation to the Arab world. 

 

Another irony is the fact that there were large numbers of Arabs amongst the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces defeated by the United States and its allies.  It would be safe to say that the hand of “everyone” is against bin Laden right now.  Furthermore, the term “wild donkey” is parallel to what Westerners call a “jackass.”  You can infer what you like from this statement.

 

The populations of the numerous countries mentioned so far are predominantly Muslim in their belief.  These are areas where Christianity has suffered the worst persecution in the history, recent or otherwise.  Take a look at a global map sometime; this will give you an idea of the vast number of ethnic groups that have never even been exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 

Starting from the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Caspian Sea to the north, as far south as the equator, and as Far East as the northern borders of Afghanistan and Russia, as well as the borders of Pakistan and India encompass millions and millions of square miles.  This terrain is varied, with rugged mountainous regions, vast deserts, grasslands, prairies, and has an enormous population.

 

While the governments of most of the nations within the huge geographical area mentioned above are either dictatorships or Communist (same difference!), many are governed by the harsh and cruel standards of Islamic fundamentalism.  Islam is a religion derived from the teachings of a book called the Koran.  The Koran sanctions violence and acts of murder against anyone who speaks against it, Islam, the pagan god Allah, or the false prophet Muhammad.

 

The Taliban has been defeated in Afghanistan, but for years little has been mentioned in Western media of the iron hand they ruled with.  Women had to cover every part of their body with clothing, even in withering heat of the blistering summer sun.  Men were not allowed to shave their beards, and the land was filled with terror and dread because of the murderous brutality exercised by these demonically driven men.

 

The despotic rule of the Taliban is not unique to Islamic countries.  Saddam Hussein is the dictator of Iraq, and there is ample proof that he murdered hundreds, if not thousands of his own countrymen with the use of chemical weapons.  Innocent men, women and children were selectively used as test subjects for the effectiveness of his heinous desire to assess the effectiveness of his biological arsenal of weapons.

 

The Sudan has been a country that has endured perhaps the worst persecution of Christians than any other in history.  Entire villages have been ravaged, women and children brutally raped, people have been tortured and murdered or sold into slavery.  There have been numerous reports from missionaries and other relief organizations working in the Sudan of children being sold as slaves or sex slaves for as little as five dollars per person. 

 

Pakistan is a close second to the Sudanese thugs that maraud the land pillaging and terrorizing innocent tribes, nomads, entire villages, towns and even cities.  The government of Pakistan is intolerant of any opposing views, and is perhaps one of the worst in its treatment and hostility to anyone whose belief in God varies from the satanic verses of Islam.

 

There is not enough time to mention other countries in this region that are filled with religious turmoil, warfare, persecution and unrest.  But it is doubtless there are thousands, if not millions of people, many being nomadic wanderers, who secretly denounce the strict fundamentals of a false religion like Islam. 

 

In the age of the 21st Century when technology is advancing at a pace unprecedented, most of these nations and their nomadic peoples are still living in the customs, lifestyle, and culture that are akin to ancient times.  They do not have the benefit or opportunity of being exposed to media like television or radio, and have never been evangelized by Christian missionaries.

 

Many of these remote nomads are direct descendents of Abraham, either through Ishmael, or through Isaac, and must surely still adhere to the same faith passed on from one generation to the next.  Western media would like to paint a different picture, and present all of these countries as being almost exclusively Islamic.  However, Yahweh’s fourth promise to Abraham in that “gospel” spoken “beforehand” certainly includes the multitudes that have remained true to the “covenant” God made with him and his generations after him.

 

Take your Bible concordance sometime and look up the phrase, “your father Abraham.”  In so doing you will discover God’s addendum clauses to His original covenant with Abraham.  For example, below the LORD spoke to Jacob, son of Isaac, telling him Abraham’s descendents would be scattered across the whole earth!

 

 

The descendents of Abraham cover the earth, and this means they are right here, in your own neighborhood.  Because God is less concerned with the bloodline of Abraham’s descendents than He is with the “faith” lineage of Abraham, Gen. 28:13-15 is giving us a clue that there are multitudes whose faith in God is like that of Abraham.  These are the people who believe in God, and their faith is reckoned unto them as righteousness.  It is our responsibility to insure that they receive a true witness of the Son of God.  How can we do this?

 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THE DESCENDENTS OF ABRAHAM?

 

Being a witness for Jesus entails more than simply declaring one’s favorite salvation verses to another.  It involves an entire lifestyle that imitates the character of God’s son Jesus.  It begins at home, with the way you treat your wife, or children, or husband.  It extends to those who are already of the household of faith in Jesus. 

 

Are you meeting the practical everyday needs of the brethren?  Is that your lifestyle, or is it just a ministry you are a part of?  These are serious question, because they determine your witness for Jesus.

 

People in America and throughout the world are sick and tired of seeing the hypocrisy of the Christian church.  Christians meet at church on Sunday, but live like the world and the devil the rest of the week.  Christians rationalize their entire lives away to useless causes, even if those causes are not, by nature, evil.

 

Consider this: There are 168 hours in a week.  If you spend 40 hours at work, 10 hours commuting to and from work, 56 hours sleeping (assuming you get 8 hours sleep every night), 10 hours per week showering and grooming yourself, 21 hours preparing and eating meals each week, 2 hours at church on Sunday, 10 hours cleaning house and doing laundry (you can add a lot more time here if you have children), 8 hours doing miscellaneous things like filling your car with gas, yard work, checking the mail, and grabbing the newspaper, bringing the trash can out, paying bills, feeding the pets, etc., 2-3 hours checking emails, taking phone calls, or chatting with a friend on the phone each week, this leaves you with approximately 8 hours per week left over.

 

What are you doing with those 8 hours?  If you watch even one hour per night of television, you have just wasted 7 of your 8 spare hours each week.  If you rent a video, or go to the movies, you’ve already exceeded your time limits. This leaves little or no time for Bible reading, reaching out to those who are hurting and in need, spending quality time with your spouse and/or your children.  Basically, you have squandered your Christian life away on mundane things, and have little or no regard for the many descendents of Abraham who would rejoice at the revelation of Jesus in just one single believer who does more than just ‘talk-the-talk’ of Christianity.

 

This is not an admonishment for every believer to develop a special ministry either.  You can be very effective for the Lord by what you say and do on the job, at the grocery store, while waiting in line for your daily latte or cup of coffee, riding the bus, chatting with or helping your next door neighbor (few people even know their neighbors in America, let alone reach them with the goodness of Jesus), and so on.

 

The real question is, do you even care?  Will you take the time to speak with at least one stranger per week?  Will you just stop, for even five minutes of your harried schedule, and ask someone how his or her day is going, and then take time to listen?  Or are your own needs so all-consuming that you have either become tasteless salt, or are hiding your light?

 

 

 

King David prophesied of a day when all nomads of the desert will bow before the one true God of Abraham.  That day is not far off, and the events now unfolding in the Middle East recently signal the beginning of the realization of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendents.

 

 

God told Abraham, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you.  Throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.” 

 

Note the highlighted words, “to be God to you (Abraham) and to your descendents after you.”  The fact that Yahweh called this an “everlasting covenant” is proof He continues to make provision in His word by honoring the faith of the descendents of Abraham.  We recall that Abraham was “justified by his faith,” and the same applies to his descendents today, who have yet to hear the message of redemption in Jesus.

 

These nomadic tribes have been spread out to the north, south, east and west, and only God knows whom they are.  They are not just fleshly descendents, but those whose faith in the God who is just and righteous has not faltered.  They could even be in your own neighborhood, or on the job, or in a foreign country you will visit.  The point is, they are everywhere and most anywhere, and you must be ever ready to share the gospel with them in a way that accurately demonstrates the son of the living God.

 

 

We see that faith must be demonstrative; it must have actions with it or else it is useless.  Do you want to be “the friend of God” like Abraham?  Then you must do the works of Abraham, and show your faith in practical ways. 

 

Do you take time to buy an extra can of soup or vegetables each week for a needy family?  Or do you merely care for your own household needs?  Will you reach out and touch of these brothers of Jesus, even the least of them?  It will be through your actions that the descendents of Abraham are able to find Jesus as the Son of God and the son of man in you.

 

GENTILES ARE INCLUDED AS CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM

 

There is an entirely different aspect to the faith of Abraham, and the covenant Yahweh made with him.  In the N.T., as demonstrated by the passage of scripture mentioned earlier in Galatians chapter three:

 

 

We find no Old Testament scripture passage that records the exact terminology, “All the nations shall be blessed in you,” when making mention of the “gospel” that Yahweh gave “beforehand” to Abraham.  God did amend His covenant with Abraham when He told Jacob, “and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  And yet, according to the God-breathed scripture given to the apostle Paul, as he wrote his letter to the churches in Galatia, Abraham’s covenant from God is inclusive of the Gentiles being grafted into the new covenant, the better one.

 

In other words, in Judaic law the Gentiles were completely excluded from the covenant and its promises.  In the Law of Yahweh provision has been made for the Gentiles to enter the covenant.  By the days of Jesus and the apostles, Judaism had added so much manmade tradition to God’s Law that they had excluded anyone that did not meet their exacting, harsh and artificial criteria.  Paul hints at this in his letter to the Galatian churches, but uses his former persecution of the Christian church as a parallel to what Judaism did by excluding Gentiles from the covenant of Abraham:

 

·        Gal 1:11-17 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.  But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.  (NAS)

 

As a Jew, Paul knew he was a descendent of Abraham according to the flesh.  He felt this generational heritage coupled with his zeal for Judaism and its ancestral traditions made him a prime candidate for inheriting the covenant promises Yahweh had made to Abraham.  But when Jesus revealed himself to Paul directly, as Paul journeyed on the road to Damascus, his tune changed quickly.

 

He did not confer with man about this revelation of Jesus Christ, but spent time in Arabia (of all places!) to confer with God.  That would seem quite unusual, especially for a man who had previously been so steeped in the legalism of Judaism.  One might have guessed Paul would spend time in Jerusalem, considered by the Jews to be the holy city of God.  Instead, God led him into the region of the Gentiles, into the nomadic desert lands of Arabia.

 

It was there that God revealed to Paul his calling, and what he had been set apart by God to do.  Just as God had spoken to Moses in the wilderness by giving him the Law which would guide His people, now that same God gave His apostle Paul the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus to lead both Jew and Gentile. 

 

 

Paul was anointed to break the yoke of Judaic tradition still hanging around the neck of the churches in Galatia.  To them he wrote, “But when He who had set me apart, {even} from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood…”

 

Thus the greater fulfillment of the “gospel” preached beforehand to Abraham is fulfilled, as his fleshly descendents embrace the faith that Abraham himself had, being willing to step forward into a land not yet explored.  As God called Abraham out of the land of the Ur of Chaldeans (Genesis chapters 11 & 12), so Paul was called out of the land of Judaism. 

 

Where once his faith rested more in his fleshly heritage and his zeal for tradition, he now walked by faith as his father Abraham did, on a road less traveled…the narrow road.  This was in obedience to the command of his Lord and ours:

 

 

Paul’s anointed words about Abraham’s promise from, “All the nations shall be blessed in you,” was a reference and testament to the fact that all ethnic groups will be blessed in the salvation of Jesus Christ… IF they exercise the same faith Abraham did.  Abraham made mistakes, but he was a just and fair man, treating others the way would want to be treated.  This behavior was directly related to the friendship he enjoyed with God.

 

Jesus testified to the leaders of the Jews who boasted in their self-righteous lineage and bloodline, claiming Abraham was their father.  Though Abraham never met Jesus in the flesh, his faith was such that he would have rejoiced to see the Lord Jesus, if only he had the opportunity.

 

 

Since the word “it” in John 8:56 is in brackets, this means it has been omitted in the original Greek text.  This omission helps us interpret the verse and understand its’ meaning.  The original Greeks text omits this impersonal pronoun because Abraham never actually saw Jesus’ day.  Jesus was rebuking the self-righteous piety of the Jews who boasted in their father Abraham (or so they thought). 

 

Jesus was telling them that if they were Abraham’s children, they too would rejoice at the fact God’s only begotten son was standing before them.  Abraham knew God and talked with him face to face.  Certainly then he would have known the son of the Most High, for Jesus said so.  Had he ever had the privilege of meeting him, Abraham would not have treated Jesus the way these Jews were.

 

·        John 8:31-42 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  They answered Him, “We are Abraham's offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You shall become free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.  If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.  I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.  I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”  They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”  Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.  But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.”  “You are doing the deeds of your father.”  They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”  (NAS)

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Dear Christian reader, are you doing the deeds of your Father in heaven?  Can the deeds that Jesus did be seen in your life?  Are you bearing good fruit or bad?  There is a world out there where multitudes have the same faith in God that Abraham had.  They are willing to embrace and love Jesus Christ, IF they see him accurately portrayed in the life of those who claim to be his disciples.

 

Too many folks call themselves by the beloved name of Jesus the Christ without being willing to pay the price that must be paid to bear that name.  Thus, the offspring of Abraham (I speak not of his fleshly offspring, but those born of his faith) are never really exposed to the gospel.  Even in America, where just about everyone has seen and heard programs about Jesus, most have never REALLY seen the Son of God manifest by his disciples.

 

We must do more than invite someone to church on Sunday morning to declare that we have been a “witness” of Jesus.  Someone who is a witness of Jesus is someone who has taken up his or her cross, denied him or her own self, and follows after him.  They pay the price at home first by being the loving husband or wife God desires them to be.  They bear the burdens of the body of Christ, and devote themselves unselfishly to the cause of Christ.

 

Unfortunately, Christians in America have been lulled into a spiritual stupor, and their sleepy lives reflect the deception of the evil one.  The cares of life, work and hobbies, television and sports have become more important than spending time in the scriptures, and helping the needy.  God is not looking for a part time relationship with His children; he wants them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 

 

SELAH

 


 

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[1]The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.

[2]The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.

[3]The Amplified New Testament, (La Habra CA: The Lockman Foundation) 1999.