Where Would You Like To Go?

July 20, 2012

Ever Present Reminder

As you drive along the roads here in Madagascar, you are bound to see some tombs.  It seems to me that they increase greatly in number as you drive out through the countryside/bush and honestly some of them are pretty neat to look at.  Every tribe has a different custom or reason for burying the way that they do.  Some tombs have totem type poles that stick out from the top that tell the story of whoever might be buried there.  Others have their cattle killed and buried with them to show how wealthy they were.  Regardless of the tribe, the tombs have been serving as an ever present reminder of why we are here.  Driving to Besatra last week, this one in particular stood out to me.
This may sound ridiculous but it really hit me what I was looking at.  Sometimes, they seem to just be a part of the backdrop of the landscape - but they're not.  They are tombs.  There are people buried inside of them.  These people to the extent of our knowledge were and are lost.  They are in hell.  Tomb after tomb after tomb of lostness.  People who never heard the great news of salvation.  People who never experienced peace that is beyond explanation.  People who never felt the unconditional love of their Creator.  People who were not able to experience forgiveness of their sins.  Why?  Did they reject the Truth?  Some perhaps, but for the majority of them it's because
they.
never.
heard.
O Lord, use each of us so that ALL may hear.

3 comments:

  1. I'm confused...will you explain to me why a person would go to hell if he has 'never heard' of Jesus? If he has never had the chance to accept or reject - why would he go to hell? Isn't that the same as with an infant? If a baby dies, does that baby go to hell because it never had the chance to hear about Jesus? It seems like it would be the same - a grown person who never hears is the same as an infant who dies and has never heard. This is a time to teach an 'old lady' something! lol

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    1. Thank you for your question. Let us take a moment to consider salvation. Because of man's sin, all men are separated from a Holy and righteous God (Rom 3:23, 6:23, etc.) It is not that we are good people who do bad things, but that we are sinners in rebellion against God. In order to be reconciled with God, the work of Christ is necessary. Christ reconciled us to God on the cross (2 Cor. 5:11-21). This is the "great exchange"--Jesus' righteousness for our sin. The "shedding of blood" is necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22). The cross appeased God's wrath. As a holy and just God he could not just say all is "forgiven" because he had laid out the penalty for sin. If God could just allow people into heaven who had not heard about Jesus, then the cross was not just unnecessary but also cruel and unloving. Because, by sending His Son to die unnecessarily he purposelessly tortured His Son and simultaneously opened away for people to go to Hell. The cross was necessary to appease God's judgment, therefore Christ is necessary for salvation. See also Eph. 1:8-9, Colossians 1:15-23.
      For the people who have not heard, God has not left himself without a witness (Rom. 1:20 and Acts 14:17). If they desire to know Him, God will make a way. For example, the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 is of a man who knew God existed and "feared" Him but did not know God. God revealed to Cornelius in a vision that a man named Peter could reveal God to him. At the same time, God worked with Peter. Peter goes and tells him about Jesus (Acts 10:36). This is why the Great Commission at the end of Matthew and Acts 1:8 is so important. God commands us to tell people the good news because apart from Christ there is no salvation.
      Concerning babies, all men are born with sin (Psalm 51:5 and Romans 5:12). We say that babies are saved by God's special grace the same way all men are saved by the grace of God in Christ. We say this mainly because of what king David says about his baby that died in 2 Samuel 12:23. The thought is that because babies have yet to be able to comprehend a need to respond to God, God covers them with special grace. However, the moment a person can comprehend right from wrong (the law on the heart) they are accountable to God (under the curse of the law—Gal. 3:10-13). There is no set age for this occurrence as all men are different. For one, it might be at 4 years old and for another at 6 years old – depending on their comprehension of a need to respond to God.
      Thanks for asking this question – sorry the answer is so long but they are very important topics. We cannot forget that although we serve an amazing and loving God, He is also a Righteous Judge. If people who had never heard were not going to hell then there would be no reason for us to be here. We are here to tell those who have never heard so that they have the opportunity to accept Him as their Savior.
      Does this help?

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    2. Oh, Nickolee, that was beautifully explained! I do remember now hearing teachings on babies being covered by that special grace until they become accountable, knowing right from wrong! I guess I just had a 'senior moment' there! lol Thank you so much for taking time to explain all this - I know now why God has you over there!!

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