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Chains of Spanish Silver: The Church in the Modern Culture

  Chains of Spanish Silver: The Church in the Modern Culture "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8  The old craftsman ran the links slowly through his stubby, dirty fingers. He felt the smooth texture, the solid weight of each loop of precious silver mined from the hills of Peru. He gazed at the noble metal's sheen through squinted eyes, drinking in the chain's beauty. The silver chain was a precious piece from the collection of the silversmith Aragon. The old craftsman ran it time after time through his hands, remembering when he, as a much younger man, had been an artisan of the silver from the Cordillera districts. He had formed the malleable metal into ornaments for tableware and jewelry. But never had he seen or touched anything as lovely or perfect as this chain. But something wasn't righ

The Problem of Those Who Have Never Heard of Christ

 

Early Christians proclaimed that Jesus is the only way of salvation, the only way to forgiveness and eternal life, the only way to God. In our day and age, however, many consider this to be unacceptable and deeply offensive. But why?

 Isn't it possible that Jesus is the only way? Many people object, saying if Jesus is the only way, then what about people who've never heard of him? They don't have a chance to be saved. However, they do.

 God is not unfair. The Bible says that God wants all persons to be saved. Those who have never heard of Jesus will not be judged on the basis of what they don't know; they'll be judged on the basis of what they do know. So what do people who have never heard of Jesus know?

 There are two truths God has revealed to everyone, everywhere. First, He exists.

 “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:19-20

  We all know this by observing the natural world around us. And second, there's a moral law.

 “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”  - Romans 2:14-15

 We all know this by experiencing our conscience within us. Every one of us has a moral sense of right and wrong. Every nation, tribe or people have some sense of right and wrong as evidenced by the rules and customs they live by. The very fact that laws exists proves a conscience of knowing right and wrong. So those who never hear of Jesus can still respond to the light they have been given in nature and conscience. On the basis of their knowledge of God and the moral law they can turn to God for forgiveness and new life. Just like people who lived prior to the time of Jesus, they can be saved through Jesus, even though they haven't heard of Jesus. But what about people who don't respond to God's self-revelation in nature and conscience?

 Granted, they freely separate themselves from God by rejecting His self-revelation to them, and God won't force them to believe if they don't want to. Love by definition will not force you to do something against your free will. If it did that would not be love but coercion. But maybe they would have believed in Jesus if only they had heard about him! Are they just victims of bad luck, born at the wrong time and place in history? No. First, because God doesn’t judge people because they did or didn’t believe in Jesus. We are judged because of our sin. Sin is just another word for “breaking God’s moral laws”. Second, according to the Bible, the times and places that people are born is not the result of accident.

 “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” - Acts 17:26-28

 Rather, God decides where and when each person will live. So it's possible that God has so ordered the world that anyone who would believe in Jesus, if he heard about him, is created at a time and a place in history where he does hear about him, thus no one is lost through historical or geographical accident.

 Anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved. Our eternal destiny truly lies in our own choice. So how about you? God made every nation of men... that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

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