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Lost & Saved

Lost & Saved
By Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
June  2006


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A proper understanding is necessary to one's success in any field of endeavor. Religion is no exception. A person must understand what the will of the Lord is before he can do it, and Jesus said one cannot enter into the kingdom of God until he does the will of the Father. He said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

People are woefully divided on how to be saved because of a failure to understand how or why man is lost. When we come to understand this, it will help greatly in understanding what we must do to be saved. Most people know that man is lost because of sin, but so many do not understand what sin is. Some think it is something that is inherited from their ancestors all the way back to Adam. Some think it is a state that was established by an eternal decree of God. Others think it is a moral issue of some sort, but are unable to explain it.

WE ARE SEPARATED FROM GOD BY OUR SINS
Sin is said in the Bible to be the thing that separates man from God. Isaiah 59:1,2 reads, "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." This tells us that because of sin man is lost. Transversely, in becoming saved a man is freed from his sin. Matthew 1:21, reads, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

It is not reasonable that the thing that separates us from God and causes us to be lost would be so vague in the Bible that we could not tell exactly what it is. It is described in the Scriptures in terms that all can understand. It is said to be "transgression" of Divine Law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). Another means of committing sin is described by James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." One more sin is defined in Romans 14:23, "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

WE HAVE ALL SINNED
When God gives a law and man breaks it, he is a sinner in the sight of God and is lost. When man fails to do what the will of God says, he sins and is lost. When one does something in religion that is not in the word of God it is not of faith, and is therefore a sin. To be saved means that one must get forgiveness of these sins.

All men and women who have come to the state of accountability are required of God to hear, and believe, and obey His law. In this age His law is the gospel of Christ. A person is a sinner in the sight of God until he obeys it. The Scriptures say that the person who fails to obey the gospel will be punished forever. Listen to 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9... "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

UNTIL WE ACCEPT THE TRUTH THAT WE HAVE SINNED WE WILL NEVER SEEK SALVATION

A man may have good morals, but he is a sinner and lost until he obeys the gospel. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" Romans 3:10-12). If a man rejects any command of the will of God he is disobedient and is lost.

To be saved by the gospel of Christ, one must keep every precept and not violate a single one. A man violates it if he goes outside of it for any religious name or practice, or alters it in any way. 2 John 9,10,11 says, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Here we are told that we are held accountable for going beyond the will of God, but we are also guilty if we encourage others who are false teachers and transgressors of God's will. Our forgiveness and salvation comes through obedience to God, and our encouragement of others in doing the same.

A person who feels like he or she has never "sinned enough" to go to hell cannot sympathize with other sinners. Wasn't Jesus a marvelous Savior! He did no sin neither did He say anything sinful, yet he understood and sympathized and befriended sinners to save their souls. WHEN YOU AND I COME TO A GENUINE REALIZATION THAT WE HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM ACTUAL DAMNING SINS WHICH WE HAVE COMMITTED, THEN, AND ONLY THEN, WE WILL LOVE SINNERS, LONG FOR THEIR REDEMPTION, AND WORK TOWARD THEIR SOUL'S SALVATION. Remember this– Picking and choosing who you want to see go to heaven and who you don't want saved, marks you as someone who is not like the Lord and most probably lost yourself.
– R. N.


"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning" (Psalms 9:9)
 

A CHARACTER QUIZ

1. If you found a purse with $1,000, would you give it to the owner if no one would ever know you found it?

2. If you could advance yourself by unfair methods, would you do it if no one would ever find out you were unfair?

3. If the conductor failed to collect your fare, would you volunteer to pay it?

4. If there were no locks on any house, store or bank in town, would you take anything if no one would ever find out?

5. If you were in a partnership business and your partner died, would you pay his relatives their fair share, even though you were not compelled by law to do so?

6. If you were an employer trying to hire an efficient, honest, loyal, copetent employee, would you hire yourself at the pay you are receiving now.

7. If you are an employer would you like to be working for a boss who provides the wages, hours, and working conditions you provide?

8. If you are a parent, would you like to be the child of a parent like you are?

9. If you had your choice, would you like to move to a community of people who fervently worship, offer as genuine love, care, kindness, forgivness and service to others like you do?

10. If you had to live with someone just like you are for the rest of your life, would you look forward to it as a wonderful opportunity and privilege?
(Adapted from a quiz by P.V. Prochnow)

Have we forgotten the principle which our Lord set down for all who would be His disciples? He said, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31). Again, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).

Is this the guage by which you measure your own actions? Is this the way you conduct what you say, and do as you interact with others in all circumstances? Is it really???


PLEASE STOP AND THINK

About 40 years ago, the 19,308-ton Tonan Maru, mothership of the Tonan Maru whaling fleet went to the Antartic Ocean, returned with a cargo of 1,029 tons of whale meat and 1,233 tons of whale oil. The fleet, owned by the Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd., competed with eighteen whaling fleets from five countries including Japan, Norway, Britain, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union in what is called the Whaling Olympics. The fleet caught 898 whales and produced 21,197 tons of whale meat, 12,302 tons of whale oil and 8,826 kilograms of liver oil. This same event would probably not be allow today, because of environmentalists.
However, the Bible says, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).
Don't you wonder if those whalers ever thought about the 72nd Psalm, verse 9 saying, "the Lord who has doninion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." To us that whaling event seems tremendously awesome but then we remember that God is in control of it all, even the ocean itself, and is the one who "gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment, when he appointed the foundations of the earth" (Proverbs 8:29).
When you realize that God notes the fall of one sparrow, when you understand God knows how many hairs you have on your head, and you finally accept that you cannot actually change color of one hair on your head, then it might dawn on you that God is in control. When you come to this knowledge, you begin to feel genuine humility; you you won't faign meekness, when you come to know that God is really in charge. Then you'll begin see the need to submit to His Will.
Do you recall in Matthew 20 how that the mother of two asked Jesus to allow her sons to sit on His right hand and His left hand when He came into His kingdom? Of course, they thought it was going to be an earthly kingdom. The other apostles were filled with indignation. Then Jesus called them all to Him and said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
In view of all this don't you feel guilty wanting to be a "big shot" and rule over others...to be a Diotrephes? For shame!


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