Most of us can remember as a child being lost in a department store, or in the woods. Most of us when traveling have at times been lost in a big city. Having a child lost or abducted or even reading or hearing about such things, strikes terror to our hearts.
While living in Westervelt Home for missionary children as a child back in 1944, I roomed with a boy about my age, Robert Bell, who had been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean for twenty days on a small 8X10 foot wooden raft with his mother and 17 others. The ship on which they were sailing from Africa had been torpedoed by the Germans. By God’s grace, they were found and saved from what could have been certain death.
We Christians are urged in Ephesians 2:11-12 to remember what it was like to be lost: Paul describes that condition as “without Christ, aliens, strangers, having no hope and without God in the world.” One who has never been aware of his lost condition without Christ, has probably never truly been saved. Salvation is more than simply giving mental assent to the Gospel or mouthing a “sinner’s prayer”. Salvation comes to us when we sense our desperate lostness and hear the good news that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again to save us. As we sense our desperate need, we cry to God for His mercy. Then and only then are we truly saved.
It would do every Christian a world of good to remember what it was like to be lost in our sins in order to fully appreciate what Jesus did for us on Calvary.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE LOST IN SIN?
First, understand that we don’t have to do anything to be lost in sin. We are passively lost in sin from the womb, Psalm 58:3 tells us. Psalm 51:5 explains to us that we were conceived in sin. The act of conception itself is not sin between a husband and wife, but the baby that is conceived is conceived as a sinner. We inherit our sinful nature from Adam, and, as fathers, we pass on our sinful nature to our children. By the way, that’s why Jesus who was born of Mary, could not have a human father; otherwise, he would have been born a sinner like every other human being. That’s why Jesus was born of a virgin who conceived her baby by the Holy Spirit.
Thank God, that although it is true, infants and little toddlers are not accountable for their sinful nature, nor for their sins; they cannot possibly be held accountable for anything they do. When little ones die in infancy and early childhood, they go to Heaven. David understood that about his little baby who died in infancy. He said in II Samuel 12:23 ” I shall go to him. He shall not return to me.” What a comfort this truth is for parents who have lost an infant. What a comfort it is to know that all aborted babies are in Heaven. Mother, you can see your little one in Heaven one day, if you have been saved by trusting in Christ for salvation.
But as we grow and develop, and observe God’s amazing creation, we become aware of our holy God and our utter sinfulness and at that point, whatever our age, we consciously receive or reject Christ. Those who reject Christ are spiritually dead according to Ephesians 2:5 and blind to spiritual truth according to Ephesians 4:18.
Read the condition of a lost person in Ephesians 4:17-19. Paul writing to Christians says, “This I say therefore and testify in the Lord that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
This describes every sinner, whether he is a transient on skid row or a very successful professional man or woman without Christ.
As lost sinners, we are lost to the glories of Heaven. I Corinthians 2:9. We will one day face Christ as our Judge and be speechless. Romans 1:20-32, Revelation 20:11-15. We face eternity in Hell Fire. Matthew 22:1-13, Luke 15:19-23, Revelation 14:9-11.
HAS THERE EVER BEEN A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU RECOGNIZED THAT YOU WERE LOST?
Test yourself to see whether you are saved or not. If there is anything that separates Christians from non Christians, it is the attitude you have about yourself.
The non-Christian feels good about himself. He has never sensed his utter depravity and utter lostness. To him, Christianity is just accepting intellectual knowledge about Christ. There is no change whatsoever. He is the same proud sinner, perhaps worse than before, for now he thinks he is a Christian because of his knowledge of Jesus and his self-righteousness.
On the other hand, the genuine Christian is aware of his sins and is desperate to find forgiveness and cleansing. When he heard the Gospel he was overwhelmed with relief and joy as he cast himself on the grace and mercy of God. As a believer, he is a changed, humbled man, hungry to know more about God.
I fear for many baptized so-called Christians on church rolls who are still lost in their sins. Some are active, baptized church members, teaching Sunday School classes and some are preachers and priests. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus describes the horror they will experience when they meet Him.
It’s not enough to simply believe facts about the Bible. The devil believes those facts and he is damned for eternity in Hell. When you quit thrashing around in the ocean of sin and self-righteousness, and simply grab hold of Christ as Robert and his mother and those 17 other shipwrecked people grabbed hold of the raft and were saved from drowning, you will be saved from your sins and made fit for Heaven. Read my series on SALVATION for a clearer understanding of all of this.
CHRIST’S MISSION STATEMENT
Luke 19:10 gives us Jesus’ mission statement. ” For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” That must also become the mission statement of every Christian. It is our calling to seek sinners and develop a relationship with them and give them the Gospel as we have opportunity. We cannot save anyone. Only God can do that; but we can present the Gospel to them.
Yes, Jesus seeks after sinners. But in order for us to be saved, we must seek after Him.
Romans 3:11 teaches us that no sinner seeks after God. God seeks after us. We can come to Him only as He draws us, according to John 6:44. We can seek after Him only as we sense Him seeking after us. Isaiah 55:6-7 calls us to seek after Him while He may be found. If you are ever going to be saved, it will only be when Christ is calling to you. If you sense that call, receive Him now. If you put it off, you will no longer hear the call and you are doomed to eternity in Hell.
Tossing diamonds on an ocean cruise
Picture, will you, a man on a cruise sheep leaning over the railing carelessly tossing a two carat diamond ring up into the air and than catching it. He continues to show off his skill as a crowd gathers around him. Suddenly he misses and the diamond ring falls to the ocean floor, lost forever. You think to yourself, What a stupid man!
Picture two teens in their cars roaring down the road towards each other at 80 to 100 miles per hour. They’re playing the game of “Chicken”. Whoever veers away first is a chicken. Eventually they crash and are both instantly killed. Again, you think, how stupid!
Playing Russian Roulette
Picture a man playing Russian roulette. In the chamber of his revolver is one bullet. The other chambers are empty. He holds the revolver to his head and pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. He laughs and scorns the danger. He can repeat his foolishness and pull the trigger again. He may or may not die, but eventually, he will die if he continues his foolishness. Again, you judge, how stupid!
But dear friend, their stupidness pales into insignificance compared to what you are doing by rejecting Christ in this age of grace. Whereas the ring tosser may or may not lose his ring, whereas the teens may or may not kill themselves, whereas the one playing Russians roulette may not kill himself; you have a 100% chance of dying and going to hell if you reject Christ.
Today, if God’s Spirit has shown you your lost condition, seek Him while He may be found. Call on Him to save you now. “Whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
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