Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           February 5, 2006                           NO. 3

 What It Means To Be Lost

    Few people, if any, give serious thought to the idea of being lost in hell. Stop and think for a minute, "How long has it really been since I soberly considered the possibility of being condemned at the judgment and spending eternity in torment?" Furthermore, what does it mean to be lost--in terms of time and eternity what does it mean?

    The word of the Lord certainly teaches the possibility of my being lost and the certainty of hell. Near the close of the sermon on the mount, Jesus urged men to enter and follow the narrow way that leadeth unto life and added the note that few will find it because many are following the broad way leading unto destruction. (Matt. 7:13,14.) After the Lord had finished His description of the last judgment in Matt. 25:31-45, His epilogue noted that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment and the righteous into life eternal. What sounder warning or more reflective words could be used to admonish concerning the reality of punish-ment? There will be no doubt in the mind of the condemned person as to what punishment means; even so, let us learn what it means to be lost.

Separated from God

    The lost person is separated from God in this life. Isaiah reminded God's people in his day that their iniquities had separated between them and their God and their sins had hid His face that He would not hear. (Isa.59:1-2.) God's answer to sin was in the person of Christ, who through the shedding of His blood made possible the removal of sin and thus the reconciliation of man to God. (2 Cor. 5:19.) But, my friend, separation from God in this life is not worthy to be compared to eternal separation from God. (2 Thess. 1:6-9.)

Servant of Sin

    The man who is lost is one who serves sin, as Paul notes in Rom. 6:16-19. He serves sin through his obedience to sin as he yields his members as servants to the cause of iniquity. Would it not be tragic to survey an entire life spent in the service of sin, when at the judgment we would like to consider ourselves as the servants of God? But the man who obeys sin is sure to be lost if he does not repent, for he has chosen the wrong master. Let it be remembered likewise that we cannot serve two masters; and to attempt such is to neglect the Lord and serve the devil.

    Let each of us examine himself to determine whom he is serving, and in this way know whether he is lost.

Christ's Death in Vain

    To the lost individual the death of Christ means nothing. As far as he personally is concerned, Jesus' death was useless -- vain -- because it means nothing to him. He has not benefitted; therefore, he is still lost. This is the person who counts the blood of Christ an unholy (common, light) thing. Since he places no special value on the blood of the cross, he makes no attempt to obtain its benefits. He classifies everything associated with the death of our Lord as null and void.

Word of Judgment Rejected

    "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him In the last day." (Jn. 12:48.) The lost man whom Jesus described in this verse rejects the very word by which judgment will be rendered. He thus abandons all hope of salvation that the Lord has offered to any man. The only hope of the Christian in the judgment is Christ, whose blood cleanses those who are walking in the light. (1 Jn. 1:7.) But the only way he can possibly know how to live to walk in the light is the word of light. (Psa.119:105.) When he rejects God's word, he accordingly throws all hope overboard.

All Spiritual Blessings Forfeited

    Being lost also means that a person has forfeited every blessing of a spiritual nature. All of them are found in Christ (Eph. 1:3), and the man not in Christ cannot enjoy them. All of the lost--alien sinners and unfaithful children of God--are outside of Christ either by failing to enter or failing to abide in Him. The election and predestination of God, redemption and acceptance in Christ, being God's inheritance, the right of prayer, the exceeding great and precious promises, and many others are outside the reach of the lost: they have forfeited them. The lost individual, for instance, does not enjoy the peace of God that passeth understanding; it does not guard his heart and mind as it does for the faithful Christian. (Phil. 4:7.)

Damnation

    Being lost as one goes through this life means separation from God, service to sin, Christ's death in vain, rejection of the word of judgment, forfeiting all spiritual blessings. As far as eternity is concerned, being lost spells eternal condemnation. The punishment of the lost is not pleasant to consider. As to its time, it is everlasting; its motive is vengeance; its nature is fiery tribulation; and its subjects are the host of wickedness, both earthly and spiritual. (2 Thess. 1:6-9; Matt. 25:41.) This, my friend, is what it means to be lost. Will you then not heed the warning and do the Lord's bidding that you might escape the sure condemnation of God and win His divine favor in the after awhile?

---Bobby L. Graham

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Don't Put a Question Mark Where God Put a Period

    God placed man in the Garden of Eden with the following rule: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:16,17). When the serpent came to tempt Eve, he said, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of every tree of the garden?'" Notice what is at the end of that sentence. Satan put a question mark where God had put a period. Because of Satan's influence, first Eve and then Adam wound up violating God's rule, treating it as a question in their minds instead of a command.

    Men often make the same error today -- we put question marks where God put periods. Here are some examples:

* In His word, God said, "in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day" (Exodus 20:11). Men ask, "Do we really know how long it took to make the earth?" "Could God have used evolution over millions of years to create life as we know it?"

* God said, "Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1). And, "Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly" (Proverbs 23:31). Men ask, "What's wrong with taking a drink now and then?"

* God said, "Baptism doth also now save us" (1 Peter 3:21, KJV). Men ask, "Do I have to be baptized to be saved?"

* God said for us to "consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24,25). Men ask, "Do I have to go to church?"

* God said, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16). Men ask, "Can we play instruments of music in worship?"

    The mistake of putting a question mark where God put a period is as old as the Garden of Eden. Let's resolve that we are not going to make that mistake. If God has said it, let's believe and obey it, no questions asked!

---Steve Klein

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