Romans 1:16-20 / Ignorance is no excuse pt.2 (Sermon – Notes and Audio)

Posted on March 11, 2013


This is the fifth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of March 10, 2013. This message deals with whether those who died having never heard the gospel, will go to heaven or hell. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Rom 1_16-20 pt2




Romans 1:16-20 / Ignorance is no excuse pt.2


“they are without excuse” Ignorance is not a valid means of salvation.

Jesus makes it clear that He is the only way.

John 14:6

This brings up some questions, which we will explore.

What about Babies?

2 Samuel 12:22 – 23

We see that babies have a place in heaven.

Since they do not yet know sin, they have not yet lost fellowship with God.

They retain their innocence.

Next, we see in Scripture the command to evangelize.

Romans 10:13-15

Matthew 28:18-20

Why should we bother if the ignorant will be saved anyway?

If people are saved because of ignorance, aren’t we doing them a disservice by evangelizing them?

By taking away their ignorance, we force them to make a choice.

As a consequence, many will reject Christ, and be condemned to Hell.

These same people, otherwise, would have been saved because they were ignorant.

We also see that God is patient so that people will be saved.

2 Peter 3:9

God withholds judgment, so that people may be saved. Why do that if the ignorant will automatically be saved.

Why would he wait until the entire world can be evangelized?


Romans 2:12

Luke 12:47-48

Just as there are different levels of rewards in Heaven, there are different levels of punishment in Hell.

People will be punished according to their response to the knowledge they have received.


  • Some may argue that according to Romans 5:13, that there is no sin where there is no law. Two points to make:

We are told in Romans 5:12-20 that everyone suffers the effects of Adam’s sin, even before the law.

Even if there were no law for us, and we could not be convicted of any particular sin, we would still suffer the effects of our sin nature.

Romans 2:14-15 tells us that the law of God is written on our hearts; therefore, we could not use that excuse even if it were valid.

  • Some would argue that according to 1 Peter 3:19, Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, and that He will do the same for the ignorant, after death.

The question must be asked, who were the spirits, and what was the purpose of Jesus’ preaching?

These sprits, who are apparently not in Hell, but in temporary holding, are the demons who were active just prior to the flood.

Revelation 20:7 even references Satan being loosed from his prison for a time. This is after the millennial reign, prior to the Great White Throne judgment.

Satan will be temporarily imprisoned after the tribulation, but only temporarily. His permanent confinement will come later.

Secondly, there is no mention of any redemption resulting from that preaching.

There is no indication anywhere in the scripture that man has a second chance after death.

If Going to Heaven is immediate after death, then Hell would be also.

We see at the “Great White Throne“, that all will come face to face with God.

At that point all will believe, but those who are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.

We are also told of a time when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, but that will not bring about salvation.


There is no salvation for those who have not accepted Jesus Christ.

God reveals himself to us so that there is “no excuse”.

People will be judged according to the knowledge they have been given.

They will still be in Hell, but some will receive a lesser punishment than others.

There is no such thing as ignorance of the existence of God, so there are no excuses, and no salvation apart from Jesus Christ.

This is the reason for our call to evangelize the world.

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