Saving the Lost

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) The Apostle Paul echoes this theme: “God, our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) The Apostle Peter declares, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

What is meant by these terms, “saved,” “to be saved?” This question has been debated for generations. We could ask: If a person were going to be saved, then saved from what? Scriptures use disturbing terms to describe the condition of the unsaved: lost; slaves to sin; in darkness; headed toward death. Does this not sound like the tragic legacy from mankind’s fall?

Jesus inaugurated a radically different life-direction. “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10) The abundant life promises these compelling alternatives: found; freed from slavery; into light; alive; a pathway that shines brighter and brighter. Paul speaks of our being rescued from one domain, darkness, and catapulted into another domain, that of God’s own Son. (Colossians 1:10) Would not anyone, if they could, choose such a destiny?

"Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

(Acts 2:21)

Here is the dilemma: “If they could choose.” Could God have given us the freedom to make such a momentous decision? If he wanted us saved, might he not have done so by edict? After all, he is God! But rather than mandating, he has gifted us with the prerogative to choose. We are to come willingly, as volunteers, not conscripts. See how this is consistent with the way in which he designed us in the first place, enabled with the same freedom he gave Adam and Eve in the garden!

In 1980, the economist Milton Friedman wrote the landmark book, Free to Choose. He says we are endowed with personal, economic and political freedom. But he omits the most vital freedom of all, spiritual freedom. Remarkably, God gave us this ultimate freedom, and entrusted us to use it wisely.

Our opportunity to choose or not choose spiritual freedom is the key to the way of salvation. This inflection point is at the very heart of Jesus’ mission on earth—to his life, his death and resurrection. Our very lives depend on understanding our freedom to choose and making the right choice.

You have a choice to make. Today you can begin a new life with God if you believe that Jesus died for you and rose from the dead and you are ready to turn away from your sin and accept Jesus as your Lord. You were created with the ability to think for yourself, and this isn’t a decision anyone else can make for you. Are you ready to start your relationship with God?

“I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

(John 10:10)