A Question I Was Asked:

Can Those Who Don't Know Christ Be Forgiven of Sexual Sin in the Judgement?

What about those who do not believe that it (wrongful sexual behaviour) is a sin? You believe in evangelical inclusivism so what if someone who did not explicitly believe in Christ (or who followed an alternate religion) continued in behaviour that they thought was perfectly normal and healthy? Assuming that the majority of mankind is saved, do you believe the majority of mankind expresses repentance for all the sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let us look at this, because I believe that my questioner does not quite understand what evangelical inclusivism teaches. It is most certainly not a 'get-around' for people what want to get into God's kingdom without repentance!

9. ... Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10. nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

By the way, the sentence, 'men who have sex with men' (verse 9) is almost certainly a reference to men visiting male temple prostitutes, visiting male and female temple prostitutes was a huge problem in Corinthian society.

The answer to this question is that the whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19), and that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13). The majority of mankind cannot express repentance when they are in complete ignorance, without any understanding, however, their consciences can assist them. Let us remember three points here:

Those who have not been specifically called, and have not known of Christ during their physical lives upon earth will be judged by what they did know and how they behaved in reaction to that. Notice this:

14. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16. This will take place on the day when God judges people's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2:14-16; NIV throughout).

Verse 16 there is a clear reference to the Day of Judgement. We serve a God who can evaluate these matters. In the verses which we just considered 'law' is a reference to God's spiritual law, of course, also Paul uses "gentiles" to refer to unbelievers. Paul is saying that it will go much better for people on Judgement Day if they are found to be adhering to the main points of God's spiritual law (even while not knowing nor understanding that law), and if obeying their consciences regarding the general sense of right and wrong which everybody has.

The Day of Judgement Will NOT Be a 'Kangaroo Court'

It bothers me that many of my fellow evangelicals continue to see Judgement Day as a sort of "kangaroo court" (a court in which judgement is already decided, no defence being allowed), but this is not what the Bible teaches.

On the Day of Judgement I believe that those, or many of those, who never knew Christ will have an opportunity to throw themselves upon the abundant mercy of God. Of course, where any of these people receive God's mercy upon their repentance, they too are saved in Christ - there is no other way to enter God's kingdom. I believe that these people could be called 'the latter fruits.' 'The firstfruits' are the Church and those whom God has specifically called during this entire age. In farming, the 'firstfruits' are the first, smaller crop of outstanding quality (because they have come through winter), then later comes the general harvest ('latterfruits'), a much larger group of lower overall quality.

And that is it. Scripturally it appears that all will have an opportunity to throw themselves on the mercy of God right at the end of time. However, the matter of sin must always be dealt with and it can be - in Christ. A few, however (hopefully a very few), will reveal themselves (I have little doubt), to be incorrigibly evil and will continue to want nothing of God, just as they have not in this life. Let us all hope and pray that that group are very small.

Robin A. Brace. February 1st, 2017.