Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1961
NUMBER 14, PAGE 6,14a

Are All Those Who Obey Not The Gospel Lost?

Conrad B. Estes, Bellevue, Washington

This question goes far beyond the realm of curiosity. It has a vital bearing upon every Christian with respect to service in the Kingdom of God. It makes a great deal of difference in any individual's interest in the evangelization of the world. Even the zeal of the Christian who goes to a virgin field is measured to a great extent by his individual conception of the eternal destiny of the people who have not heard and obeyed the gospel. Whether or not a man believes the heathen are lost without the gospel has a tremendous bearing on his giving and support. The Christian who believes the heathen are lost without the gospel has a passion about his giving and also about his going to the field where the precious gospel has never been proclaimed. The one who does not, at best regards any missionary endeavor as a form of charity. Where a man is conscious of the fact that the heathen are lost without the gospel he is bound to have more zeal and passion toward saving them.

Human reasoning cannot be our guide in determining this all important question. The natural mind is enmity against the revelation and truth of God, and is repelled by many truths of scriptures. We must recognize the Bible is God's divine revelation and come to it unprejudiced by our own preconceived ideas of justice and mercy. Our attitude must be "What does God say?"

What Do The Scriptures Teach?

Ask yourself this frank question: Does the scriptures anywhere give the impression that there is any way of salvation apart from God's appointed way? Does the scriptures give the slightest impression that if people sincerely worship and follow their pagan religions, God will accept it? Honesty compels us rather to say that the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation teach that heathen religions are not of God and that He hates them; that He will in no wise accept or tolerate heathen idolatry. Those who follow such idolatry are not walking with God but rather have turned their backs upon Him and are following the ways of darkness. The Old Testament has much to say about Idolatry and universally condemns it. Read such passages as 1 Sam. 7:3; Joshua 24:14; Ex. 20:4; Isa. 45:20; etc. There are in fact many condemnations of heathen religions throughout the Old Testament in the strongest possible language. In the New Testament note such passages as Acts 26:18; Acts 17:30; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Eph. 4:17-18; etc.

How any person can study the scriptures as the true word of God with an open mind and come to any other conclusion than that idolatrous worship is condemned is hard to understand. Nowhere as far as I can see, can one draw the conclusion from God's divine revelation that if heathen people sincerely follow their religious rites and practices, they will be accepted by God. The very opposite is true.

Scriptural Proof

There are many passages of scripture which show there is no way of salvation apart from a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and acceptance of God's appointed way.

Acts 4:12: "And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved." In face of the persecution of the Sadducees the apostles boldly stated this truth. Now if men can be saved in some other way or through some other name than that of Christ, this inspired statement cannot be true. There are teeming millions trusting in another name than that of Christ. In the light of Acts 4:12, could such be saved?

1 John 5:11-12: "And the witness is this that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that bath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life." John clearly states that eternal life is in Christ and in him alone; therefore those who are not in Christ cannot have eternal life. This is God's appointed way. Is it true or not?

Joho 14:6: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." Does this scripture teach that any can come to God except they have a knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Son of God? If anyone can be saved in any other way, then Jesus stated a lie and John recorded it as truth. Do you believe it?

John 7:1-3: In this passage Jesus defines the essence of eternal life. "And this is life eternal, that they should know the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Christ Jesus." Obviously this passage implies that apart from such a knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus, there is no eternal life.

Acts 26:16-18: "For to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people. and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me." The very purpose of Jesus appearing to Paul was that he could go to the Gentiles and "open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they (Gentiles who have never heard) may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me." Paul's aim was "to preach the gospel not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation." (Rom. 15:20)

This scripture teaches that Paul went to Gentiles who had never had an opportunity to hear the gospel for the express purpose of: (1) Bring thee out of darkness into light. (2) Bring them out of the power of Satan unto God. (3) That they might receive remission of sins. (4) So they might have an inheritance among the saved. (Someone might contend that these people were only guilty of breaking civil law, but this is not true. 1 Cor. 5:9 plainly states that alien sinners in the world are guilty of several sins; covetousness and idolatry are among the list. There is not a nation in existence that condemns these sins. Such sinners are guilty of breaking God's divine revelation.)


One thing we need to keep in mind is that God did not create any people to be heathens. All men have a common ancestry from Adam. Paul gives a brief history of the Gentiles in Rom. 1:18-32. While writing as he was guided by the Holy Spirit, he shows that the state of the Gentiles is the result of their deliberate rejection of God and His way for their own heathen ways.

Man has lost himself whether he be your next door neighbor or in the dark jungles of Africa. It is up to us to see that they hear why Jesus came to the earth. (Matt. 1:21) It is then up to him to obey Jesus and have eternal salvation or stay in the state where he is and be lost and remain with Satan throughout eternity.