Shall Not The Judge Of All The Earth Do Right? - The Jesus Code

Shall Not the Judge of All the Earth Do Right?

Genesis 18:25

In my decades of Christian service, far and away the most often asked question has been something like this: “What about the person who has never even heard the name of Jesus? God will let them into heaven, won’t He?” This is usually accompanied by such follow-up questions as, “What about those devout and sincerely religious persons of other faiths who spend a lifetime in service and worship?” and “What about our Jewish friends? Are they the ‘other sheep’ Jesus referred to as His own who are ‘not of this fold’ (John 10:16)?”

Abraham’s “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25) is obviously a rhetorical question. He asked it not as much to gain information as to emphasize a point. A rhetorical question really expects no answer; it is already known. In this case, shall God, ultimately, “do right”? Absolutely! Rest assured of this. Even Job reminded us that our great God is “excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice” (Job 37:23). David, the psalmist of Israel, added, “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).

So who is the Judge going to allow into heaven? There are three theological persuasions when it comes to the issue of who is going to heaven. Inclusivism teaches that men and women are saved by general revelation and that, when all is said and done, no one will be left out; everyone is “included” in the atonement. Pluralism teaches that there is a plurality of ways one can get to heaven. The pluralist tells us that we are all going to the same place; different religions are simply getting there on different roads, but all faith claims are true and valid. Exclusivism teaches that faith in Christ and in Christ alone is the only way to the Father’s house. Or, as Jesus Himself put it, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

There are many issues hard to understand that must be left in the eternal councils of the Godhead. I will be the first to admit there is much we do not know, but there is also much we do know. What we do know from God’s Word is the focus of this chapter. We’ll look at two fatal flaws that are prevalent when dealing with the question at hand. Those who hold out the hope that heaven is open to those who simply have never heard is based on a presumption and an assumption.


The presumption on the part of many proponents of inclusivism is that those who have never heard have some sort of special dispensation that will provide them a different way into eternal life.

But the same Bible that tells us God is a God of love also tells us He is a God of justice who must punish our sin. In a reading of Genesis, we find God’s justice revealed several times before arriving at Genesis 18:25. God judged Cain for killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4). God judged the entire world with a great flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 7). At the Tower of Babel, God judged harshly man’s self-reliance and sheer arrogance (Genesis 11). And who can ever forget what happened when the judgment of God fell on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)? God’s judgment is always true and always righteous.

Space does not permit us to hear out Paul on this matter. All one must do is read Romans 1–3 for a complete explanation of how we are all guilty before a righteous Judge. Those who have never heard the gospel are not condemned because they have neglected or rejected Christ. They, like all of us, are “condemned already” because creation speaks of Him (John 3:18, Romans 1:20) and because our own conscience testifies of Him as well (Romans 2:15–16).

If it were possible, however, that men and women could be saved simply by not hearing about Jesus and His plan of salvation, then there is something we, as believers, should get busy doing: we should shutter every church, recall every missionary, send every pastor/teacher to be a greeter at Walmart, and burn every Bible we can find. Then, in just a few short years, everyone would be on their way to heaven. Paul, however, said, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). There were two times in human history when the whole world knew of God’s plan of redemption. Adam and Eve knew, and Noah, his wife, their sons, and their wives knew. Along the way we have failed to take the gospel to all people on the planet who don’t yet know Jesus or God’s plan of redemption. This is still our Great Commission from Christ.


The assumption on the part of many people is that there are those who are innocent and, as such, should be admitted into heaven. What about that man way up in the remote, untouched mountain regions of Nepal? Or that woman so far back in the African bush that no missionaries have ever passed her way? Do I believe that an innocent person can go to heaven without coming to Christ? Yes—but that person doesn’t exist! There is no such thing as an innocent person. Paul taught, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). That includes me. That includes you. That includes the Bedouin nomad in a Middle Eastern goat-haired tent, the Buddhist burning incense in China, and the Hindu trying to appease God at the banks of the Ganges in India.

We are not condemned because we reject the claims of Christ. We are lost because we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23). Long before I ever had an opportunity to neglect or reject Christ, I was without hope. That’s because I was born with an inherent sin nature passed down by my relatives, Adam and Eve. My own parents never had to teach me to disobey; that came naturally. My mom and dad had to teach me to obey.

So why did God permit His only Son to die on the cross? Love was His primary motive, but He was also demonstrating to us His justice. Sin cannot go unpunished. In His great love for us, He poured out His justice on Christ, who took our punishment and died in our place. He died my death in order that I may live His life. He took my sin so I could take on His righteousness. It is our response to this justice that determines our eternal destiny.

Interestingly, God did not put me on His Judgment Committee . . . nor did He assign me to the Election Committee. He put me on the Nominating Committee, and it so happens that many of those with whom I share the gospel and thereby nominate for salvation, He seems to accept into His forever family.

Q & A: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Yes! Absolutely! Certain judgments may not look “right” to us, but this question calls for a heart check, a spiritual EKG on the part of each of us. After all, only God sees and knows what is really in the heart of man. That’s why there will be many people in heaven some of us never thought would be there. And there will be some we thought would, but may not. It is because, when all is said and done, “the Judge of all the earth will do what is right!”

From the Book:

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The Jesus Code
By O.S. Hawkins
Thomas Nelson

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