Dr. Jason Hiles, Christian Studies professor at Louisiana College and the Associate Dean for Biblical and Theological Studies at the Louisiana College Caskey School of Divinity, recently wrote an article for the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Baptist Message titled, Reflections on Summertime Missions and Salvation.
In the article, Hiles gives a biblical foundation for why we as Christians do missions and how God’s active work in salvation is achieved through the means of those sent to proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ.
Hiles corrects a common misunderstanding of many Christians regarding the “noble savage” and those who would charge God as being unfair if he did not give every rebel a “chance” or opportunity to hear the gospel and repent.
Paul writes, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), which means that according to strict justice no one can plausibly claim to be innocent or assert that God owes him something other than condemnation (Romans 3:19-20).
Hell, then, would be the final just response of a holy God to unholy rebels, if not for the grace of God in Christ.
By contrast with all that sinners deserve, the grace God offers in Christ should not be regarded simply as just or unjust.
While it is by no means unjust, grace must be understood as an undeserved gift (Romans 3:24) that belongs to a different category since those who enjoy God’s grace do not receive what they justly deserve.
In fact, they receive divine favor and reward that they do not deserve at all.
For this reason any suspicion that God acts unfairly toward those who live and die apart from knowledge of the gospel is misguided. That would imply that God owes everyone something; namely, an opportunity to be saved.
As the argument generally proceeds, since God owes all the chance to be saved, he would be unjust if only some have the opportunity. But the argument, if true, would turn salvation into something that God owes humans rather than a free gift offered on the basis of grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Thus if God chooses to save anyone at all we must marvel at His extraordinary goodness and mercy. God’s just character is in no way impugned.
Our responsibility as believers relates chiefly to making the gospel message available to those who have not heard of Christ, not to standing in judgment over God for how He governs the universe.
So God is just, but He is also a God of love.
I have been very blessed to take two classes with Dr. Hiles at Louisiana College and his dedication to the Word of God has been, and continues to be, a great encouragement.
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