[forthright] Is Everyone Subject to the Gospel?

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 15:47:54 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Is Everyone Subject to the Gospel?
by Richard Mansel

There is a belief that only Christians are subject
to the New Covenant found in the New Testament.
Non-Christians, they say, have a "law written on
their hearts" and are not subject to the laws of
Christ (Romans 2:14-15). Gentiles who lived in the
Old Testament period were under "natural law" and
not under the Law of Moses (Romans 1:19-20). Non-
Christians are likewise outside of the Law of
Christ and not subject to its laws.

This doctrine is false because all men are indeed
subject to the New Covenant of Christ.

Sin is a violation of God's will. Paul wrote,
"where there is no law there is no transgression"
(Romans 4:15, NKJV). "Whoever commits sin also
commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (1
John 3:4). John also wrote, "all unrighteousness
is sin" (1 John 5:17). Since we are under the New
Testament today (Hebrews 8:6-7; Hebrews 9:16-18),
sin is a violation of the law of Christ in the New
Testament. If non-Christians are not subject to
the New Testament and sin is a violation of the
New Testament, then non-Christians cannot sin.

When we come to the gospel, we are called to
repent. Yet, if a non-Christian cannot sin, what
will they repent of? (Luke 13:3,5). And if a non-
Christian is not subject to the New Covenant then
they are not bound by the plan of salvation, which
is found in the New Testament. Christians are then
in the unenviable position of being the only ones
who can sin and the only ones who can be lost (1
Corinthians 15:12-17; Hebrews 6:4-6).

The charge is made that this doctrine does
acknowledge that non-Christians can sin by
rejecting Christ. However, there isn't a standard
outside of Christ in which to sin. Where, outside
of Christ and his disciples, do we find that all
men are to accept Christ? For this doctrine to be
true, it would have to be axiomatic that someone
outside of Christ, regardless of where or when
they live, can find Christ outside of the New
Covenant. If someone were in a place where no one
else lived, they would still have to be able to
know about Christ. In Romans 1, Paul tells the
Gentiles that they should have been able to see
God in creation. But how would someone see Christ
in creation?

In the New Covenant, the gospel is sent to "all
the world," where as the Law of Moses was just for
the Jews (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Isaiah
2:1-4). The gospel is for all who will accept
Christ, both Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:27-28;
Ephesians 2). In this respect a parallel cannot be
drawn between the Gentiles of the Old Covenant and
the non-Christian of the New.

Jesus died for all men (Luke 19:10; John 3:16).
All are sinners without Christ (Romans 3:23). We
either come to him for salvation or we will be
lost. Everyone is subject to the gospel call and
will be judged on whether they accept him or not
(Revelation 21:12-15).

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, years after the church
had started, Paul says that these Christians were
once sinners and had been cleansed of their sins.
This is key because these brethren, who lived
after the cross, had committed a host of sins
while being non-Christians. They had been
responsible for fornication, homosexuality,
idolatry, to name a few. Therefore, Scripture
teaches that non-Christians are indeed subject to
the laws of God.

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