Monday, June 12, 2006

Are the Lost Really Lost?

Inclusivists, those who believe that people can be saved through Christ without a conscious knowledge of Christ or a personal faith response to Christ have to deal seriously with Romans 10.

Let's look at Romans 10:9-17. The context is the salvation of the Israelites (see vs. 1). What Paul is arguing is that this salvation for the Jews, or for anyone that matter, does not come unless one "confesses with [their] mouth, 'Jesus is Lord'", unless one "believes in [their] heart that God raised him from the dead" (cf. vs. 9-10) (notice the specific cognitive knowledge that is needed: "raised from the dead"). This salvation is avaliable to anyone who "trusts in [Jesus], whether Jew or Gentile," but the condition of salvation is for those who "call on him" (vs. 12), for "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (vs. 13). However, someone can not believe and be saved if "they have not heard" (vs. 14). They need someone to preach to them (vs. 14). Faith, which is necessary for salvation (cf. Rom
3:28), comes from hearing the message of Christ, through the preacher (vs. 17). Therefore, one can not be saved unless they hear the gospel of Christ.

In the context of Romans, chapter 1 speaks of general revelation. General revelation is enough to condemn us, but not to save us. If even the Jews could not be saved by trusting in the law, then how will someone be saved by trusting in another "god." Paul wants to make it clear that in Romans 10 that people will not be saved unless they hear about Jesus Christ; therefore, it should stir up within us a passion to preach Christ where he has never been heard before.

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