“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)
“Lost” for purposes of this post means to not know Jesus; to not be born again of the Spirit; to not have repented of sin and received forgiveness and newness of life in Jesus; to not have an ongoing love relationship with Jesus. In the Bible “lost” means “to perish, destroy, to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin.” (Strong’s) That’s the eternal end for those who are lost.
Who comes to mind when you read the above definitions? Family? Friends? Co-Workers? Neighbors? Those with whom you serve at church? The one staring back from the mirror?
Like faith, lostness has very little to do with feelings. We tend to wrongly believe that a major motivation to come to Christ is unhappiness or problems, but to present Jesus simply as a means of happiness or as a problem solver is to miss the point of salvation.
Before we meet Jesus, we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. We don’t have problems because we’re lost, we have problems because we’re human beings. Yes, of course, we DO have a major problem, but it’s not that I just learned I have cancer, or I totaled my car and I don’t have insurance, it’s that I’ve broken the laws of a holy God and I have no means of paying the penalty for my sin-debt, which is eternal death.
To be a “brand new species of being,” of which Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 5:17, isn’t a promise of a care-free life. It’s a promise of a new heart and a new mind that gives us God’s perspective in the midst of trials, that Jesus promises we’d have in this life.
To me, happiness is far overrated. Honestly, I rarely think of whether I’m “happy.” I choose rather to focus on contentment, peace, or the fact that I have the promise of an eternal home in heaven, which fills me with appreciation and a sense of joy-filled worship.
Do we understand that people can be very happy without Jesus? That they can experience love and hope and forgiveness and a myriad of other positive emotions that we tend to attribute solely to our relationship with Jesus? These are human emotions, not necessarily Christian emotions.
Ray Comfort wrote in his ebook (www.freewonderfulbook.com/): “Prior to my conversion, I was very happy, satisfied, thankful, and joyful. At the age of twenty I was a successful businessman with my own house, a beautiful wife, a car, money, and, being self-employed, the freedom to enjoy it all. I was loving life and living it to the fullest. Therefore, I was not a candidate for the modern gospel. I wasn’t hurting in the slightest. I had a wonderful life without Jesus. However, when I was confronted with the biblical gospel and understood that ‘riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death’ (Proverbs 11:4), I saw my need for the Savior. Let me repeat: Because of the erroneous belief that the chief end of the gospel is man’s happiness on earth rather than righteousness, many fail to see its God-given intention. They think the gospel is only for those who lack money, those who are brokenhearted by life’s difficulties, those who are the problem people in society. The belief is further perpetuated through popular worship choruses that have splendid melodies, but carry this message: ‘Heartaches, broken people, ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.’ How often do we therefore neglect to share the gospel with those whose lives are going well, because we know they won’t be interested in the “wonderful plan” message? We may wait for a crisis to come their way—and in fact, secretly hope that it does—so their ‘heartaches’ will then make them receptive to our offer of a better life.” Pgs 34-35
The truth is, most lost people think very little about God’s love because they’re more focused on their individual needs and desires, not realizing they’re on a one way road to destruction.
Blessings, Ed 😊