“This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins’ (ESV) Romans 3:25; cf Acts 14:16; 17:30
What is meant exactly by God ‘winking at’ or ‘overlooking’ past transgressions before the cross is a not completely clear to me? While I may not fully understand how gentiles without the law – though they showed the law was written on their hearts and by nature did the things off the law -could be counted as more righteous than circumcised Jews, it doesn’t stop me from believing it (Lk 4:25-28; Romans 2:27).
Nevertheless, what I do know and understand is that God now has declared that all men repent from worshiping vain idols and serve the living God, Acts 17. Jesus says he is the only way to heaven, Jn 14:6. And Peter preached there is salvation only in Jesus’ name, Acts 4:12. The path to eternal life is narrow and exclusive. So don’t believe those in the world, and even so-called Christians, who say otherwise because unless one follows Jesus, he is not saved.
So we should reject the temptation to discover some other way that men are saved because, hey, they didn’t know. Because they lived in the middle of Africa, or because they were more innocent and would have obeyed if only they had heard, is not evidence of a different path to eternal life. What these excuses should remind us of is that we Believers have a responsibility to bring the Gospel to them.
Believe in Jesus.