Of one the Lord has made the race,
Through one has come the fall;
Where sin has gone must go His grace:
The gospel is for all.
These words written by J. M. McCaleb from a certain hymn ring so true, and all the more to me as I have witnessed the work being done for the Lord in Mexico. This song emphasizes that the saving grace of Jesus Christ is not reserved for us only, but for every single soul on this planet. The second verse reads, Say not the heathen are at home, / Beyond we have no call, / For why should we be blest alone? / The gospel is for all. Even those who have never heard of God must receive the gospel in order to be saved.
We could think of all kinds of things that might present problems to evangelists, whether it be prejudice or distance, but something I have never considered is that of literacy. In this country it’s something we often take for granted, but in Mexico there are many elderly people who have never learned the Spanish language, and accordingly were never taught to read or write. What about these people? Can they become Christians even though they are not able to read God’s Word and probably never will?
This is verily something I had never considered, but I am convinced that this is indeed possible. Why does the Bible emphasize hearing so much, and why is this an essential step to salvation (Matt. 11:15, Rom. 10:14)? I believe God in His omniscience foresaw that many would need to receive the gospel who could not read characters written on paper, and thus preaching and teaching were necessary to reach these people.
There are many Christians today who cannot read, but who are none the weaker for it. They are followers of Christ because their friends taught them the gospel, and those who could read the holy scriptures imparted them to those who couldn’t.
Although being literate is not necessary for salvation, we should be all the more thankful for our ability to read. Think of the advantage that you have! You can study the scriptures for yourself, and read from those inspired texts God’s will for you. Sadly, there are many literate Christians today who are doing much less work in the kingdom than those who can’t read. Use your ability to the glory of God, and study His word daily! Let us be ever thankful for that which God has blessed us with in this life to share His word with others.