The skeptic is convinced that he is capable of being God’s counselor. Robert Ingersoll, for example, asked, “If the Bible is the foundation of all civilization, of all just ideas of right and wrong, of our duties to God and each other, why did God not give to each nation at least one copy to start with?” (About the Holy Bible).
The fact is that God has given plenty of light to men, and they have absolutely no excuse.
1. Christ draws every man (John 12:32).
Note that Jesus did not say that He will save all men; He said that He will draw all men. He draws in the following ways.
2. The Holy Spirit gives conviction of sin to every man (John 16:7-11).
To “reprove” means “to convince of a fault.” It is elsewhere translated “tell a fault” (Mat. 18:15), “rebuke” (Titus 1:13; Heb 12:5), “convict” (John 8:9; 16:8), “convince” (1 Cor. 14:24; Titus 1:9).
God was pricking Paul’s conscience before he was saved (Acts 9:5).
3. Christ gives light to every man (John 1:9).
There is the light of creation (Rom. 1:18-20; Psa. 19:1-3), the light of conscience (Rom. 2:14-16), and the light of Scripture (Rom. 3:1-2).
The light of creation and conscience is great. Men not only know instinctively that there is a mighty God through observing His handiwork, they know in their conscience that He is a holy Creator God to whom they are accountable. Even Hindus, whose gods are anything but holy, know that there is a holy God. Where did they learn this? Not from their own religion, but from the testimony of their own conscience.
The light of creation and conscience is enough light to condemn every man, but it is not enough to save them. Salvation requires hearing the gospel (Romans 10:14-17) and this is why Jesus has commanded us to preach the gospel to every person (Mk. 16:15). The gospel is the instrument by which God calls sinners to salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
God has been speaking to men from the very beginning, but for the most part God’s Word has been rejected. Adam and Eve knew God and knew about His salvation through the prophecy of the Seed that would destroy the Serpent and through the sacrifice of innocent animals that pointed to Christ, the Lamb of God (Genesis 3:15, 21). Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5), so for the first millennium of man’s history the first man was still alive and was still testifying personally about the God who had created him. Adam’s second son, Abel, was a prophet and knew about salvation through the coming Saviour (Luke 11:50-51; Hebrews 11:4). Before the worldwide Flood, there were other prophets. Enoch even preached about the second coming of Christ (Jude 14-15). Noah preached before the Flood (2 Peter 2:5). Job lived after the Flood and knew many things about God, including salvation through the coming Saviour and the bodily resurrection (Job 19:25-27). Solomon proclaimed the true God to many nations in his day (1 Kings 4:34). This was 1,000 years before Jesus was born. King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire preached about the true God to the nations of his day (Daniel 4:1-3, 37). This was about 550 years before Jesus. Darius, head of the Medo-Persian Empire, also preached about the true God to the nations (Daniel 6:25-28). The apostles preached the gospel throughout the Middle East, as well as in Asia, Africa, and Europe (Romans 1:8). From then until now Christian missionaries have been preaching to the ends of the earth. The gospel has been preached to every nation. The entire Bible has been translated into every major language of the world, and portions thereof into most minor languages: 2,450 altogether. Men have no excuse for sitting in darkness and not knowing the true and living God.
Men quench the light because of their love for unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18; John 3:18-19).
Men are responsible to seek God (Acts 17:26-27). To those who respond to the light that they have, God gives further light (Prov. 1:20-23). We see this in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-7) and in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-31).
That men know that there is a Creator God to whom they are accountable is evident by the fact that they will throw away their idols and try to hide when Christ returns (Isaiah 2:17-20). No one will have to say a word, because men know in their heart of hearts that idolatry is wrong and that they are accountable to one almighty God.
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