General revelation is the revelation of God's existence and power through natural means. This includes the created universe such as the sun, moon, stars, water, trees, animal life, and human life. According to Psalm 19:1-3, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard." Every person has access to this general revelation from God, leaving people with no excuse. As Romans 1:20 states, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Can general revelation be enough for a person to be saved?
General revelation is available to all people, but is it enough for a person to be saved? A clear example can be found in the account of Cornelius in Acts 10. He was called a good man who feared God, but he was not saved. Because he believed in God and sought to know Him, the Lord sent Peter to him to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Cornelius heard the Gospel, he accepted it and became saved.
Many have yet to hear the Gospel around the world still today. Those who acknowledge God and seek Him find that the Lord sends the good news of the Gospel to them similar to the account of Cornelius. For example, in modern times there have been reports of people in Middle Eastern nations who have desired to know more about God. As they sought more information, God provided it, sometimes supernaturally through a dream or other times through a missionary or through reading a Bible themselves. God uses many ways to reach those who seek to know the God they are only aware of through general revelation.
The Bible does not provide examples of people who came to salvation in Jesus without hearing the Gospel in some way. General revelation stirs up a desire to know God, but salvation is found only in Christ. Acts 4:12 clearly teaches, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
This is also why there is such an urgent emphasis in Scripture to take the Gospel of Jesus to all the nations or people groups of the world. Matthew 28:19-20 commands, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." The apostles and early Christians took this command literally, taking the message to the farthest reaches of their known world. Still today, Christians are called to urgently share the Gospel with the unreached, realizing that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.
Is it true that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Do we contribute anything good to our own salvation?
What is salvation?
Saving grace – What is it?
Before Jesus died for our sins, could people be saved? How?
Truth about Salvation