“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14
We want our friends and family to be saved, right? As Christians we believe that all who haven’t put their trust in Jesus as Lord and don’t believe God raised him from the dead (see Romans 10:9) will go to Hell, eternally separated from God. The Bible is very clear on that, yet so often we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In this politically correct day and age the idea of eternal damnation for those who don’t accept Jesus isn’t that popular. For example, there are many praise songs that emphasise God’s love for us and not so many that mention what the long term consequences are for those who reject it.
And while I’m not by any stretch advocating “fire and brimstone” style preaching in every church (although if it works for you then stick with it), I do think that we need a greater emphasis in the western Church of the fact that the Bible, which we believe to be the Word of God, clearly states that all non-believers will spend eternity in Hell. If we truly care about our friends who don’t know Christ, it should cause us serious distress to think that is where they will be spending eternity. It’s not a pleasant thought, it’s not a popular viewpoint to take, but it is what the Bible says, and yet is all so often forgotten.
And the thing is, unless something significant happens, Hell is exactly where many of our friends will end up. And in Romans 10:14 Paul makes it clear what that significant thing is – they need to call upon the name of God – as it says in Joel 2:32 “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But in order for them to call they need to believe, and before they can believe they need to hear. And for them to hear, someone needs to speak. Someone who knows God and cares about them needs to tell them the truth about Christ’s love, needs to speak the words of life to them. (You can probably guess where this is going…)
For many people we can be their only Christian friend. So if we don’t tell them, who will? If we don’t share the Good News with them, who will?
In Ezekiel 3:16-27 God appoints Ezekiel as a watchman for the people of Israel. God tells him if he fails to warn them of the consequences of their sin, He “will hold you responsible” (v18). If Ezekiel warns them and they ignore him, then it is their fault, but if he doesn’t tell them then he is responsible for the consequences they face.
I believe something similar goes on with us and our non Christian friends. It is our responsibility to tell them about Christ. After that, it is out of our hands and up to them. But if we don’t tell them then how can we expect them to believe if they have never heard? And by hearing I don’t just mean hearing the basic Gospel message. I mean hearing how much they need Jesus in their life, and how He has changed your life.
If we don’t tell them, who will? And if we don’t tell them, when they end up in Hell it will be our responsibility.