Have you ever heard that question before?
Usually it comes from someone who has animosity toward the things of God and are trying to find fault in our doctrine, though I have had someone ask it purely out of genuine curiosity. The answer is really very simple. Obviously many throughout history and throughout the world have never heard the Gospel. Even today, many in the deepest parts of the Congo or the highest parts of the Himalayas have yet to hear the Gospel preached.
What happens when they die?
Proverbs 24:12, If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Being ignorant of the law is no excuse, neither is being ignorant of the Gospel. God knows the heart and will judge according to what is in the heart of a man. The Apostle Paul makes it even clearer.
Romans 2:14-16, For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
So Gentiles (anyone and everyone that is not Jew), who have never even heard the law, will be judged according to what is in their hearts. Gentiles who do the works of the law by nature, in other words, those who do not kill, do not steal, etc., will be judged by what they have done according to what is in their hearts.
However, if one has ever had the opportunity to hear the Gospel preached (either in word or written form), they are without excuse. Once the Gospel has been presented, the ball is in the hearer’s court, so to speak. A decision must be made.
Joshua 24:15, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
What is your choice?
What does God have for you…just around the corner?