Christians sometimes have great difficulty in understanding those individuals who have not surrendered their lives to the Lord. We so easily forget that there was that period in our lives when we ignored the Lord. Yet when we became Christians we were so thrilled with the treasures we had found we could not understand the indifference of others. How many times have you heard Christians say, “Well, why won’t they just obey the gospel?”
The problem is not new. In Romans chapter ten Paul described the process of salvation. It begins with a preacher being sent and is followed by preaching, hearing, believing, calling on the Lord and salvation. This is precisely what had happened in the lives of those early Christians and it is precisely what happened when we became Christians. We are so perplexed as to why others we know will not follow Him. The answer may be found in two verses found in this chapter. We likely know verse seventeen which affirms, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is the next verse that we may have overlooked.
Those early Christians looked at the lost world and responded like many of us do today. “Have they not heard?” The discovery of truth meant so much to them, and means so much to us, that the response is to conclude that the primary reason the whole world is not converted is simply because the just have not heard the gospel. In one statement Paul showed the fallacy of this kind of reasoning which assumes the lost simply have not heard. “Yes, indeed.” They had heard! He then added, “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” Later he wrote the Colossian letter and showed that every creature under heaven had heard (Col. 1:23).
There are only two possible reasons why the whole world has not obeyed the Lord. Either they have not heard, or they have heard but will not submit to Jesus. The implication of this in our lives is so sobering! We may be almost powerless in changing rebellious hearts, for that decision is theirs. What we do control is whether they have the chance to hear the gospel. As you think about this listen to God.
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 3:18).