Bible & Theology

What Must I Do to be Lost?3 min read

May 31, 2017 3 min read

What Must I Do to be Lost?3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sometimes people get caught up in discussions about what sins will send a man to hell. Usually, the “really bad” sins, like adultery or murder, top the list with little question. Then there are the “little sins” – sins society tolerates more-or-less – like cursing, coveting possessions, recreational drug and alcohol use, or lust.

Perhaps we could talk about how even Christians often turn a blind eye to some sins. To our shame, it is not hard to find Christians full of pride, selfishness, ungratefulness, anxiety, and worldliness. The truth is any sin, no matter how small, can damn Christians. As Isaiah told God’s people:

Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. (Isa. 59:1-2)

“Is it a Sin to…”

Yet many Christians still ask the question, “What must I do to be lost?” Not with those words, of course, but with other questions. “Do I have to go to every church service?” “Is _____ a salvation issue?” “How far can I go with _____?” “How many drinks is too much?”

These can be legitimate questions. And if we are willing to listen, the Bible answers all of these questions with great clarity. But the problem is usually not the question itself; it’s the attitude behind the question.

What I mean is this: Many Christians are no better than the servant who was given one talent and went and buried it. When the master returned, the servant handed over the one talent. To which the master responded:

Cast this worthless servant into outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 25:14-30)

The attitude behind, “What must I do to be lost?” is akin to, “What is the least I can do/get right/believe/commit and still be saved?” When we start drawing lines in the sand, we start forgetting that what belongs to our Master is our complete devotion.

All or Nothing

Of course, the Lord is patient and wishes for all to come to repentance. Yet that does not negate the fact that He is still coming, and will do so without warning. As a result, we are commanded to “be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish” (2 Pet. 3:8-17).

Peter did not command us to learn the art of distinguishing between so-called “essentials” and “non-essentials.” He did not tell us to “know how much we can handle” when it comes to alcohol, drugs, crude jokes, unbecoming language, lust, tempers, gambling, and “things like these” (per Gal. 5:21).

Instead, we are commanded to love God with every ounce of our being (Mark 12:30). We are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Pet. 3:18). We are to fleenot draw lines in the sandevery flavor of sin (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:14; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22).

Jesus told the Laodicea church of Christ that they were lukewarm. He told them He’d rather them be hot or cold – anything but lukewarm. God doesn’t want our partial, hairsplitting, apathetic, unbalanced, hypocritical devotion. He demands we sacrifice it all (Luke 14:33) and count everything as loss (Phil. 3:8).

What must you do to be lost?

Be indifferent. Get as close as you can to sin without sinning. Take a chill pill. Only worry about the “salvation issues.” Presume on God’s grace. Do nothing.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged, even if they are in disagreement. However, please keep your comments relevant to the article. For my full comment policy, click here.

Ben Giselbach is the pulpit minister at the East Side church of Christ in Cleveland, TN. He and his wife Hannah have three children, Ezra, Colleyanna, and Eliza Jane. Ben is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University and has returned to pursue his MDiv. He has written three books in his You Are A Theologian Series (Thinking Right about the Bible, Thinking Right about God, and Thinking Right about Salvation) and co-authored It's There In Black and White: 37 Questions about Racial Tension in the Church.
  1. J. Randal Matheny

    Good thoughts. From here we might go to talk about denying oneself and taking up the cross. May God give us mercy and convert us from our lukewarmness.

  2. Stephen Scaggs

    Enjoyed the article brother! Only problem I have is that it's not a 3 Point Sermon. ;) I might use this for our church bulletin soon. Keep up the faith.

  3. Susan Fauss

    Setting up the standard of perfection without including compassion is the reason I have struggled with the Church of Christ denomination for that is what it is. It is difficult to reconcile judgment with compassion. Many times because of this, more damage than good is done to those who simple think the road to God and Heaven is just too hard to qualify for and so give up. You are correct though, it is the heart that needs to be how many drinks or mistakes one has made. And when the heart is right, all else falls into place because all one wants to do is be more like Jesus.

    • Mickey Collins

      The Lords church is NOT a denomination..

  4. momzilla76

    Going by what you said not one single person is going to be saved for no one is fully and perfectly without sin every single second of their existence. One tiny little slip up right before you die wipes out a lifetime of trying really hard to avoid all sin. Are you VERY sure this is what Jesus died to give us? (By no means am I seeking or looking for loopholes to sin. I take sin very seriously. So seriously that is spurred my question.)

    • Ben

      You have misunderstood the article. There is a vast difference between being sinlessly perfect, and faithfully serving Christ by "walking in the light" (1 John 1:7). Being absolutely faultless is impossible, but we do need to devote out lives to following Christ to the BEST of our ability (instead of thinking how close to the world we can get).

Comments are closed.

Leave a comment