Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom 1:19-20)
“Can the heathen be saved who have never heard the Gospel of Christ?” That was the question my high school teacher asked me and 30 years later a senior N.C. Senator asked me the same thing. This mini-series of articles is a report on what I discovered as I searched the Scriptures for an answer. I’ve heard it said: “The danger of a little learning is that the one who has it may not realize it’s only a little.” That was my plight when I answered my high school teacher.
My answer: “people can only get saved when someone shows them from the Bible how to be saved.” I hadn’t thought it through, that we were short on manpower to show everyone on earth how to be saved and that the earth’s population would more than triple in my lifetime. Did God make too many people to be reached with the Gospel? Even with radio, TV, and Internet, many people have never heard of Jesus Christ and the population continues to mushroom.
The Bible tells us (Romans 1:19-20) that God has shown the world’s population His awesome power and authority over them through the things He has made. Psalm 19 says the heavens declare the glory of God, utter speech and show knowledge and God’s handiwork and there is no place where their voice is not heard.
In addition to this, Jesus has appointed His followers as preachers and teachers of His death, burial and resurrection as God’s eternal plan for saving lost sinners. We are to aim at telling every person on the earth (Mark 16:15) about the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
──Calling on the Name of the Lord──
It is important to understand these seven verses.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Rom 10:12-18) (This refers to Psalm 19)
No difference between the Jews and the Greeks. The same Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him. Paul establishes that the preferred way of hearing the Gospel, is through a sent preacher.
But, God has another plan already in operation and Paul refers to that plan spelled out in Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God. God’s creation is His background system of preaching and it goes to everyone on earth.
I read about a Russian artist. One day she looked at her hands and fell under great conviction that there was a God who had made her hands with artistic ability. She had been trained as an atheist but in a moment of time she threw her atheism aside and embraced the God of creation and whatever He had for her. She had just experienced the drawing of the Holy Spirit. Thomas A. Edison, who is given credit for the electric light bulb, said that he wouldn’t be an evolutionist until they could make one blade of grass. Edison understood the strong message of God’s massive creation.
God’s people are his second wave of preaching about Him and the most effective way of reaching whatever people they can meet. Out of this effort comes churches that evangelize and that serve the many needs of the Body of Christ. It is God’s living, verbal witness based on the Word of God and on creation. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13)
God has many names. On which name, must a lost person call? God taught the Jewish people at least fifteen names for Himself. Three of His names were Yahweh, Jehovah and Adonai. Jehovah had eight suffixes that could be used, two of which are: jireh and nissi. El is one of His names and can be used with other words. The 4th Commandment is “Thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in vain” (Ex.20:7) In the model prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “…hallowed by Thy name” (Mat.6:9 & Luke 11:2).
●Joel 2:32 says: “… it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered.” (Hebrew: Jehovah is used.) (It occurs 6,521 times in KJV Bible)
●When Joel 2:32 was copied, and recast in Romans 10:13, kurios (Greek) was used. (Occurs 748 times.) It means: “Supreme in authority; controller; Mr. – Master- Sir – God – Lord.” For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Rom 10:13) Paul uses it in his discourse on Jews and Greeks being saved if they will call on the name of the Lord.
Do you see where this is going? Joel’s word for LORD is Jewish. Paul’s word for LORD is not very Jewish, but broad, almost anonymous. Wherever one might live in the world, LORD (kurios) could be used in the mouth of one who knows almost nothing about God, certainly does not know His name, but call on Him using the title of: MR. or SIR. or MASTER or BOSS. Please pause and make sure you understand what is going on here. God has no problem with an ignorant sinner stumbling and fumbling as he/she calls on the LORD to be saved.
I didn’t know this when I was talking with my high school teacher! I didn’t know this when the old Methodist N.C. Senator closed his door and asked me if the heathen could be saved who had never heard a Christian preacher.
(The above word usage comes from Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Dictionary e-Sword Bible program on my computer. Install it on your computer, free, at www.e-Sword.net )
Tomorrow we will look at the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing people to repentance and faith.Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 16, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. Deut 28 P.M. Mark 15:27-47
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Memory Verse This Month:
Let the words of my mouth, and meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
Song for Today:
When the Roll is Called (3:31) – (Gaither Group)
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