Two Classes of Lost People
It's sad to know that there are thousands and millions of people who are lost, undone, and without hope. And even more pathetic, to realize there are multitudes of people who think they are saved, but in reality have merely been led astray. Then there are those who know the truth but refuse to abide by it. What a shame! What a tragedy! But regardless of how you look it it, all of these souls are lost and will remain lost, unless something is done about the situation.
As previously mentioned, there are two classes of lost people - those who are deceived and those who refuse to obey God's word. Please consider each class in the order mentioned:
1. Those who are deceived. It would be utterly impossible to number the people who have been deceived in religious matters. Why, there are those who, believe that morality alone will save; that one can become a Christian without ever being baptized; that one church is as good as another; that "once saved always saved;" that one may worship with the church of his choice; that one name is as good as another; that there are Christians in every church, and so on. Yes, all of this, and much more, is believed and practiced in the religious world. But where do these people get such ideas? From God's word? Why, certainly not. These theories and doctrines are conceived, born, and kept alive within inall himself. That is to say: through the preaching and writing of only a few, whole masses of people may be led astray. Thus, the religious world is in the same state that it was when Christ said, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mk. 7:7).
2. Those who refuse to obey God's word. Many know the truth but refuse to do anything about it. This is true of those outside the church as well as those who are members of the Lord's body. There are those who know what the Bible teaches on the subject of salvation, the church, worship, and so on. However, these same people refuse to obey God. But why? Because of unbelief, lack of courage, worldliness, neglect, and other things. On the other hand, the real damage is being done by those who have become members of the church but refuse to go any farther. What do we have? Members who refuse to attend the assemblies, give as they have been prospered, help the poor, and the such like. Then others dance, gamble, swear, and commit just about everv sin in the book. Thus, we are dealing with unfaithful members of the church, people who will do the Lord's cause more harm than good. Peter described the lot of them like this: "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from holv commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing mire." (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
The two classes of people we have given attention to have one thing in common: Both must obev the truth to be saved. Regardless of what one thinks or does, it is obedience to the will of God that saves, and that only. The Lord says, "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." (Matt. 7:21 ). Continuing with James, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22). What is it? Friends, it Is not enough to profess religion, or to know God's will. The thing that counts is coming to the knowledge of truth and acting thereon.
There are countless people who are living a "good" moral life, but they are lost. Yes, there are thousands of, denominationalists who are putting forth the best that is within them to live a righteous life, but they are lost. Even though these souls do not lie, steal, gamble, murder, commit adultery, and the such like, nevertheless, they are still lost. But why? These people have not as yet obeyed the gospel of Christ. In order for one to live the Christian life, first of all he must become a Christian. Just because one abstains from certain sins or incorporates certain principles into his way of life, this does not mean that he is a Christian. To be a child of God one must meet certain conditions. For instance, Christ has said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be dammed." (Mk. 16:16). Of course, after one complies with these conditions and thus is added to the church, he is in position to live the Christian life: but not until.
Furthermore, one may have obeyed the gospel of our Lord but that does not mean that he is a faithful Christian. Just because one has been added to the church does not mean that he is going to heaven when he dies. There are many, many people who have obeyed the first principles, have been added to the body of Christ, etc., but because of one thing or another have drifted away from the path of righteousness. But what will happen to these people? They'll be lost just like that p e r son who refuses to obey the gospel of Christ, that is, unless they repent of their sins and pray that God will forgive them. Hence, we come to the matter of restoring the unfaithful. The Bible teaches that if one has publicly sinned, he must repent of his sins, confess his faults before men, and pray that the Lord will forgive him. James says, "Confess your faults to one another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16).
What about you? Are you trying to live the Christian life while a member of some man-made organization? If ),on are, then you need to take inventory, restudy the matter, and obey the truth that you might be a Christian and a Christian only. And to you who are members of the Lord's kingdom, but not what you should be, give some thought to your situation. You are lost and will cause others to be lost. Why bring disaster upon your soul, and the souls of others? Repent, acknowledge your sins, and pray that God might have mercy upon your soul, thus restoring you to your first love.
Truth Magazine II:5, pp. 14-15