WHO ARE THE LOST?

Being “lost” before God is not an imaginary idea. The apostle Paul reminded the saints in Corinth: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 4:3). He further said that such people had their minds blinded and did not believe the gospel (4:4). What was their spiritual condition? They were perishing.

We also recall that Jesus said, “For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). What was His purpose in coming to the planet earth? To save those who were lost. Again, it is undeniable: some people are lost. In fact, we would observe with a tremendous sense of sadness and horror that the great majority of humans are lost.

Who are these lost people? In short, lost people are those who are not saved. What can cause a person to be separated from the God of heaven? Only one thing: his/her own personal sin. Sin separates the sinner from Jehovah (Isaiah 59:1,2). People who have committed at least one sin and have not had their sin(s) cleansed by the blood of the Lamb are lost people. The unsaved are lost, and the lost are unsaved.

Who are the lost? Those who are living in sin outside of the Christ are lost. By God’s wisdom, redemption/forgiveness of sins is available in one place and one place only. Where would that be? In the Christ (Colossians 1:13,14). Put another way, salvation is in Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10). People become lost by the sin which they commit. They remain lost outside of Jesus if they do not obey the gospel by being baptized into the Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Romans 6:3,4). So, one group of lost people would be those who are unsaved outside of Jesus. Put another way, they are not Christians, having never been added to God’s family, the church, wherein is salvation (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23).

Who else is lost? Those who at one time had their past sins washed away and became Jesus’ disciples, but later fell away. It is okay to say “fall away.” Jesus used that terminology (Luke 8:13). The Bible further says, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19,20). “The sinner” is the soul who needs to be saved from death – it is a brother or sister who has wandered from the truth, regardless of the reason(s), and now stands in a need-to-be-rescued state. No emotional appeal or messed-up, man- made dogma can overturn this fact: disciples of Jesus who turn away from Him are lost.

It is a great tragedy when a child of God falls away and becomes lost again. It is equally tragic when fellow Christians observe such and make no serious effort to try and win them back.

Every spiritual saint ought to be in the business of reaching out to the lost, making a diligent effort to help them get out of sin and comply with God’s teaching so their sins can be washed away and remembered no more. The communities in which you and I live are filled with those who are lost outside of Jesus. Some of them are lost in blatant immorality. Others are decent folks from a moral standpoint, but proudly and fervently deny that they need the Lord and the salvation which He offers. Still others are lost because they have bought into and propagate the falsehoods of man- made religions. Here is the question that is staring you and me right in the eyeballs: What are we doing to bring the gospel to the lost people around us?

In our acquaintances, most likely you and I also personally know members of the church who have left their first love. They are scattered throughout our communities. To such folks, Jesus’ message is that they need to remember from where they have fallen, repent of their sin, and return to Him and their first love/works (Revelation 2:4,5). Those precious people are lost! What are we doing individually and collectively to bring them back to the Lord’s refuge? If our answer to that question is, “Nothing, we are not raising a finger to help lost sheep come to the Shepherd,” then I would suggest to you that our souls are in jeopardy, too. If I continue to assemble regularly with the saints and live a life that is unstained by immorality, yet I fail to have a heart that cares enough about the lost state of others to try and help them come to or come back to Jesus for the salvation of their soul, then I need to have a revival in my spirit and repent!

There is not a word in the English language that is sadder than the word “lost.” We have identified the lost. Now we need to go reach out to them with our Lord’s powerful, soul-saving gospel. The Master did not say, “Sit and wait on themtocometoyou.”Hesaid,“Go…and preach.” Let us do it!

— Roger D. Campbell

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