When the Lord returns, He will come “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
It may be understandable why those who refuse to obey the gospel will be punished. But what about those who never hear the gospel – those who do not know God? Is it really fair for God to punish people because they never heard? People have wondered this and even questioned God's justice.
The reality is that no one will be punished for not hearing the gospel. They will be punished for their sins. Paul wrote, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The remedy for this is the gospel, “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).
Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica that it is “only just” for God to punish certain people (2 Thessalonians 1:6). Rather than question God's sense of justice, let us take advantage of His grace in offering salvation and making its conditions known in His word. Let us also look for opportunities to share the gospel with others so that they might be able to avoid punishment for their sins.