We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last week I showed you that the Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way of salvation. This teaching usually leads to another question, ‘Can those who have never heard the gospel, and so do not know Jesus  or believe in him, be saved by living according to the light of nature?’

The Bible teaches that those who have never heard the gospel about Jesus cannot be saved. Although people may know something of God, they suppress that truth and live in rebellion against God. The apostle Paul says: ‘The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served  created  things  rather  than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them’ (Romans 1:18-32).

Apologies for the lengthy quote. But again and again in this passage, Paul teaches us that people turn their backs on God despite knowing much about him. Which means no one has saving knowledge of God through the general revelation in nature. The only way to be saved is through special revelation about God’s son, Jesus Christ.

So do you believe in Christ for your salvation? Or are you seeking  salvation in another futile way?

Joel Radford