But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
"Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world." - Romans 10:18 NKJV
who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. - Acts 14:16-17 NKJV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - Romans 1:18-21 NKJV
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." - Acts 17:30-31 NKJV
For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. - Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, - Titus 2:11 NKJV
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. - Colossians 1:23 NKJV
It is evident that not all people have heard the gospel, but it is the full gospel which not all have heard. The everlasting gospel, that has been present in the world since the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden, has been revealed by God-given convicting conscience to all people.
The gospel, in its fullness, has been revealed through the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. The fullest revelation will be demonstrated in the consummation of the ages with the eternal New Heaven and New Earth.
Before Messiah came in the flesh, there were those who looked forward to the salvation of God that was to come as the seed of Eve that would crush Satan's head. This one came to be known as the Messiah. He appeared in the garden, walking with Adam and Eve. He appeared many other times also throughout the ages, frequently referred to as "the Angel (Messenger) of the Lord". He was later manifest in the flesh, being born of a virgin, and known by the name Jesus of Nazareth.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. - Galatians 3:8-9 NKJV
Those who believed in Him to come, having not yet seen Him incarnate, when they died descended to a place of comfort in Sheol called "Abraham's Bosom". This is where the righteous dead went. This place is also referred to as "paradise" in the Bible by Messiah when He was on the cross.
The unrighteous dead, who did not trust God so as to look forward to the salvation He would provide, descended to Hell, a place of torment in Sheol. Both sections of Sheol, Abraham's Bosom and Hell, are visible to each other, but cannot be crossed from one to another due to the great chasm between them. This is testified in the New Testament account of "The Rich Man and Lazarus". Please note that this event mentioned by Jesus is NOT a parable. The narrative is a case example Messiah provided after He spoke a parable. The renown ancient historian Flavius Josephus writes of this place as real and existent, describing it similar to the way Messiah did.
Therefore, the righteous, who had faith in God for salvation before Messiah came, saw Jesus in the place of Abraham's Bosom in Sheol when He descended there after He died. Having now seen their expected Messiah, when Jesus rose from the dead, these righteous dead also rose to ascended to Heaven. Thereafter, Sheol is no longer inhabited as a place of comfort for the dead.
The everlasting gospel has always been and has never changed but has over time been more fully revealed. Salvation has always been through faith in Messiah. Before Messiah came, the righteous looked forward to His coming. In this age now, the righteous look back to the time He came, when Jesus died on the cross to shed His blood and save us. He is also looked forward to regarding His second coming to fulfill all the purposes of the Kingdom of God.
What about this present age? Again, the question needs to be asked... What about those who never heard? God judges based on what people have and know, not on what they do not. This goes for those such as infants, mentally disabled and also those isolated from the full gospel. Their consciences will either justify them by faith in what knowledge God has imparted to them about salvation, or condemn them for rejecting that knowledge.
Even an ignorant person may come to know that there is but one God and that they can only trust in Him to send and be delivering help. The heart of someone may approach God with what faith in Him that God has already imparted. God will not despise such and makes Himself available to all. Yes, the law helps people to come to this greater knowledge. Still yet, God may be made more even readily received by hearing the preaching of the gospel of Messiah.
As God's law has been introduced into the world, mankind has stood all the more accountable with even greater awareness of the love of God and Him to trust as the only way of salvation. No one is justified by God's law but people received justification by God Himself, trusting in Him. God is the only one who can condemn or justify. Just as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
It is urgently important for the ignorant to hear the full gospel so that they may be saved. No man should ever judge that such people should not hear the gospel, when it is commanded by our Lord for it to be preached. An ignorant, yet conscience justified person, would readily accept the full gospel of Jesus Christ upon hearing. There is no one that can receive eternal life without Jesus Christ, yet God will choose to reveal His Son to who He will.
In John 14:6, the Bible says...
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
That is no one, neither those who came after Him into the world, nor those who were born on the earth before Him. Neither infants, nor ignorant, nor isolated, nor mentally disabled. The so-called ignorant know more than many may think. Conscience itself teaches and brings mankind to accountability.
No one has ever, does ever, or will ever come to the Father except through the Son. Believe in God's Son Jesus and receive the free gift of eternal life. Also, share this good news, as He is the only way for anyone to be saved.