ARE YOU LOST?
by Ed Stevens
What does it mean to be lost? Some people have known what it means to become lost in woods or mountains. There was a straying away from the right path, then after much wandering came the terrifying conviction that they were LOST. In their being separated from fellow humans they realized that they were in danger of dying from hunger, exposure, wild animals, etc. They were filled with fear! Doubtless, they all looked heavenward, some merely to the stars for their bearings, others beyond the stars to the ever living God of heaven. Some were saved, others perished.
Reader, you must face the question, Where are you going to go after you die and leave this world? You say you don't know? Then you are LOST. May you be awakened at once to the awful peril of being a lost soul, in the light of eternity! You are in constant danger of attack by Satan, "who, as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). Many have needlessly fallen before him, as can be seen by their deadened heart and mind, showing no response to the gracious invitation of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, "I am THE WAY, the truth, and the life"—"come unto ME all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest" (John 14:6; Matthew 11:28). What is your attitude towards God's Son whom He sent from heaven to rescue lost souls from the danger of being eternally lost?
As a lost soul you are in danger of being forever numbered with those who are described as "wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13). As a lost soul you are in danger of suffering eternal hunger and thirst if you do not eat of "the living Bread which came down from heaven, which if a man eat he shall live forever"—he "shall never hunger"—he "shall never thirst." (Please read John 6:31-48, 63.) And finally, as a lost soul you are in danger of dying, not once, but TWICE! To be lost in the woods is to be separated from man, but to be lost in your sins is to be separated from God. When one dies as a lost soul a future "second death" in eternal separation from God is to be his experience in a conscious, tormented, resurrected body (Revelation 20:12-15). What an awful, hopeless, needless fate! Needless, because God "would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4). Let us then learn from God's Word the clearly given truth concerning His great plan for saving lost souls.
Lost in Adam
Every member of the human race, since the fall of Adam and Eve, our first parents, were born into this world in a LOST condition. God created man to walk with Him in the blessed pathway of obedience to Him, and fellowship with Him. Through the sin of disobedience Adam and his wife strayed from this right and good path and became lost in separation from God—cut off from His holy, life-giving fellowship. The result was death, spiritually, later physically, and the possession of a fallen sinful nature. This condition has been passed on to all their descendents by inheritance. We read in God's holy Word, "Wherefore, as by ONE MAN sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). "Your sins have separated between you and your God." "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 59:2; 53:6).
It is positively not in man to free himself from his lost condition. As Jeremiah wrote by inspiration: "O Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23). "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Proverbs 20:9). "As it is written, There is none righteous. no, not one; . . . they are all gone out of the way, . . . there is none that doeth good, no, not one. The way of peace they not known" (Romans 3:10-12. 17). "None can keep alive his own soul." "None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Psalms 22:29; 49:7).
Hope From Heaven
Immediately after Adam fell God began to make known His plan, prepared ages before, to save fallen humanity through a Savior, His "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE" (John 3:16). God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ came as the virgin-born SECOND ADAM to reverse the order of man's fall: "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the obedience of ONE (God's Son) the free gift came upon (or. is offered to) all men to justification of life (to be freed from all guilt and to be given everlasting life). For as by ONE MAN's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:18, 19). Notice the word "many" here. Not all are "made righteous," or, are saved, because many refuse His "free gift" offered them in Christ.
"The wages of sin is DEATH; but the GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 6:23. 3:23). Wages are actively earned; a gift is something unearned, to be freely received from another. "And this is the record, that God bath given us (saved ones) eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (I John 5:11). Lost sinners being spiritually "dead in trespasses and sin" (Ephesians 2: 1) through Adam's sin as well as their own, need a work of God done for them (not by them) in order that this "gift of God" can become a reality for them and that they may be made fit to live in His presence forever.
Saved by a SUBSTITUTE
In Leviticus. 17:11 we read how in olden times God graciously allowed sin to be covered until the time would come when it might be taken away completely: "For the life of the flesh is in THE BLOOD, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement (or covering) for your souls, for it is THE BLOOD that maketh atonement for the soul." In those days certain animals were sacrificed—their life-blood poured forth, that men's sins could be covered, though not taken away, for this was but an example or lesson through laws given of God to be "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ who, as God's great sacrifice for man's sin was to be offered "once for all" (Galatians 3:24; Hebrews 10:4-12). "Behold the Lamb of God which TAKETH AWAY the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
We have seen that by ONE MAN, Adam, came sin and death through disobedience and that lost sinners can only be saved by A SECOND ADAM. "Jesus Christ he righteous." God's terrible holiness and justice demands that there be perfect obedience before Him and that man's sin must be punished. In His life on earth the Lord Jesus perfectly obeyed every command of God without sinning once and then "His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree" when He cried, "My God, My God, Why hast thou FORSAKEN ME?" (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 27:46). Yes, Christ "by the grace of God tasted death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). "God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God IN HIM" (II Corinthians 5:21).
Christ poured out His life-blood on the cross, bearing the penalty for our sins, and was then "raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). In that God raised Him from the dead we have therein assurance from God that His just demands concerning both perfect obedience to all His commandments and the taking "away" of "the sin of the world" had been fully met and therefore all who BELIEVE "with the heart" that God's Son was THEIR SUBSTITUTE (taking their place to live perfectly and to die for their sins) will just as surely be raised from the dead, in possession of a new, ever living, glorified body the same as their risen and ascended Savior. Though "it is appointed unto men once to die" (Hebrews 9:27) God's Word refers to the believer's death as merely falling asleep in Christ. Please read Romans 6:5, 10:9, 10; I Thessalonians 4:14-17; I John 3:1-3, and all of I Corinthians 15.
Reader friend, have you believed upon Jesus Christ and received Him as your Savior, "in whom we have redemption through HIS BLOOD, even the FORGIVENESS OF SINS" (Colossians 1: 14)? "He that BELIEVETH on the Son HATH (immediately) EVERLASTING LIFE and he that believeth NOT on the Son SHALL NOT SEE LIFE but the WRATH of God ABIDETH on him" ( John 3:36). Oh do not remain in "a way that seemeth right unto a man (earning heaven by religious rites and good behavior—this is bribery) but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). "For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Only born again believers can do works (in Christ's provided strength) that please God.
"Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this Man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and BY HIM all that BELIEVE are justified (declared guilt-free) from all things from which ye COULD NOT be justified by the law of Moses," or, by keeping commandments (Acts 13:38, 39. See also Galatians 2:16, 21; 3:3, 10, 21).
"If ye believe not that I am He (your Savior) ye shall DIE IN YOUR SINS" (John 8:24). Do you know what this means? It means that you will remain lost throughout all eternity. It means that your sins will be "retained," not removed, necessitating separation from God for ever and ever in "the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels." which is "the second death" (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:14).
"Behold, NOW is the accepted time, behold, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION" (II Corinthians 6:2). "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be SAVED" (Romans 10:9).
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