Q: #157. Why do Christians feel the need to call non-Christians lost? I am NOT lost!
A: In Webster’s dictionary, one of the meanings of the word “lost” is “unable to find the way.” This is basically how the Bible pictures being “lost” as well.
Probably the best illustrations of this are found in several parables that Jesus used in the Gospels. For instance, in the “Parable of the Good Shepherd” found in (Jn 10:1-21), Jesus refers to Himself as a Shepherd and Israel as sheep. Those that “follow Him” and “know His voice” (Jn 10:4) belong to the Shepherd. Those who are not a part of the Shepherd’s flock have not “entered by the door (Jesus: Jn 10:7,9) into the fold of the sheep.”
In His early ministry, Jesus proclaimed that He was “sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15:24)(Also see: Mt 10:6). However, He later proclaimed that Gentiles (non-Jews) could also become a part of His flock (Jn 10:16). This is referring to those who are now Christians. Christians are now those of whom Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10). He is the “good shepherd and the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11).
A sheep is basically the dumbest animal on the planet. It is weak and defenseless. Without a shepherd (picturing Jesus) to protect and save him, a sheep will be eaten by the enemy (picturing Satan).
In the Bible, the words “saved” and “lost” are opposites. Once a person becomes a part of Jesus’ flock “he will be saved” (Jn 10:9). This word “saved” is used numerous times in the Bible to refer to Christians. For instance, following perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible (Jn 3:16), it says in (Jn 3:17) “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
On the other hand, the word “lost” is used to refer to non-Christians. For instance, in (2 Cor 4:3-4) Paul says, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) in whom the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”
Every person on this planet has been a “lost” sheep, however, those who have been born again (Jn 3:3) by surrendering their lives to Jesus are saved by the Good Shepherd from the enemy who devours the sheep.