In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, answers the question as to whether those who have never heard the gospel will be saved. Here are some excerpts:

Those who Reject God

So, what happens to that person who rejects God the Father? Perhaps his punishment will not be as severe as that of the person who rejects both the Father and the Son. Have there been people through the ages who never heard the Gospel and yet who have lived according to the light they had, living moral lives and seeking the truth that God the Father has revealed? Will Plato or Aristotle or Socrates be in heaven? I don’t know, but this I do know:

The person who lives in the U.S.A. and knows not only general revelation but also special revelation is in a situation that we call “double jeopardy.” If he rejects the Father and the Son he is doubly guilty. But the person who has never heard the Gospel is not innocent, because he has rejected God the Father and is therefore exposed to the just judgment of the holy God.

Is it Fair?

Perhaps you say, “It’s not fair. God has given us special revelation and He hasn’t given it to them.” But remember, no sinner deservesto be saved. We have no claim on God’s mercy whatsoever. All that any person deserves is condemnation. Salvation is by grace alone, but because grace is undeserved, we can never claim it for ourselves or for anyone else.

What are You Doing About It?

But still you say: “It just isn’t fair. God should love those people enough to make sure that they hear the Gospel.” Well, He does love them enough. But He has laid the responsi­bility for their hearing the Gospel right on yourdoorstep and mine. If you’re upset about those who haven’t heard the Gospel, what are you doing about it? Two thousand years ago the risen Christ said to His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


November 26, 1995

Download Transcript (PDF)