Once, a girl in the activities department asked me, "Do you think Jesus is the only way to go to heaven? What about people who won't have the chance to hear about Him? Do you think God is just going to send them to Hell?"
If you ask me this question because you want to know what I really think, then I will say this: Yes. Jesus is the only way. Scripture leaves no room for discussion on this. In John 14:6, Jesus, who is God, said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I thought about my conversation with my co-worker the other day and realized something. I had never considered her motive for asking this question. At the time, I recited the verses and explained the theology to her. But I didn't take the time to look through her question to see the reason why she asked it in the first place.
It's a common enough question, to ask about those who won't hear the gospel. I wonder if people ask because they knowingly or unknowingly want the conversation to stay abstract or hypothetical. Maybe they don't want to talk about where they stand with Jesus and use this as a diversion, sort of like people who want advice for "their friend" who "has a problem".
Do people ask this question because they want me to tell them it's okay to not follow Jesus? That all is not lost if they don't want to follow Him? Are they looking for relief from their conscience and want me to give it to them? I couldn't say it. I can't. I won't deny or diminish Jesus to make people feel more comfortable or make myself more likable.
Whether it applies to my friends or strangers who haven't heard the gospel, I think these questions should constantly remind me of my responsibility to tell them about Jesus. If I really believe the Bible is true and Jesus is the only way, what keeps me from sharing the gospel? I may be quick to answer a question, but I'm not so quick to bring up the topic outright.
Do you find yourself asking those questions about Jesus? Or are you like me, sure in your faith but aware of your shortcomings in sharing it?