Being spiritually lost refers to someone who does not have a relationship with God or an understanding of His truth. The Bible clearly teaches that every human being is born into spiritual lostness and needs to be reconciled to God. Here are some key things the Bible says about being spiritually lost:
1. We are all born spiritually lost
The Bible teaches that ever since the fall of man into sin (Genesis 3), every human being is conceived and born in a state of spiritual lostness: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). We inherit a sinful nature from Adam, so that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Ephesians 2:1-3 describes this state as being “dead in trespasses and sins,” conducting ourselves “in the passions of our flesh,” and “by nature children of wrath.” In our natural spiritual state, we are lost and separated from God.
2. The natural lost person cannot find God
In this state of spiritual lostness, we are helpless and incapable of reconciling ourselves to God. The apostle Paul wrote, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Unless God takes the initiative to seek the lost, they have no desire or ability to find Him.
3. Jesus came to seek and save the lost
The good news is that God did take the initiative to seek and save the lost! Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He told a series of parables illustrating God’s gracious pursuit of sinners (Luke 15). Jesus came specifically to reconcile spiritually lost people to God: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins and satisfied God’s wrath toward us (Romans 5:8-10).
4. We must repent and believe the gospel
Though Christ died to save sinners, the lost person must respond in repentance and faith in order to be reconciled to God. Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Repentance means turning from sin, and faith means trusting in Jesus alone for salvation. When we turn from our sins and believe in Jesus, we pass from spiritual lostness to being found by God.
5. The Holy Spirit regenerates us
How do spiritually dead, lost sinners come to repentance and faith in Christ? The Bible teaches that God must initiate this process by regenerating our hearts. When the gospel is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit opens blind eyes, unstops deaf ears, and makes spiritually dead hearts alive: “you were dead in your trespasses and sins…even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1,5). Regeneration precedes and enables our repentance and faith in Christ.
6. Conversion is being found by God
When the Holy Spirit regenerates us and we respond in repentance and faith, we experience conversion. This is the dramatic transition from spiritual lostness to being found by God. Jesus described it as being “dead, and…now alive; I was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32). Conversion brings justification – God declares the lost sinner now righteous in Christ (Romans 5:1). It also brings adoption – God makes the lost sinner His child (Ephesians 1:5). Those once spiritually lost are now found and saved!
7. Evidence of being found is fruit and good works
How can you know if someone has truly been converted and is no longer spiritually lost? Jesus said we will recognize Christ’s followers “by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20). As the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives, He begins to produce spiritual fruit such as love, joy, peace, and kindness (Galatians 5:22-23). Moreover, He enables and motivates us for good works according to God’s will (Ephesians 2:10). Growing spiritual fruit and increasing good works give evidence that someone is no longer lost but found by God.
8. We have assurance of eternal life
The Bible gives strong assurance to those who have come to faith in Christ. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Assurance is based on the trustworthiness of God’s salvation promises, not our feelings. We can be confident that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). God will preserve His found children and keep them secure in His hands (John 10:28-30).
9. We should share the gospel with the lost
Once we have been found by God through faith in Christ, we are called to participate in His mission of seeking the lost. Jesus commanded His followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). He has commissioned the church to proclaim the gospel message He has entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14). As those who were once lost and now found, we should have compassion for the lost around us. We should urgently share the news that Jesus seeks and saves the lost, pointing them to repentance and faith in the Savior.
10. Hell awaits those who remain lost
The tragic reality is that many people continue in spiritual lostness and never respond in repentance and faith to the gospel. Jesus spoke of the horrors of hell that await those who die in their sins (Luke 16:19-31). He pled with people to enter the narrow door that leads to eternal life, because many will try and fail to enter after it is shut (Luke 13:24-28). Without Christ, people remain under God’s wrath and condemnation, and face an eternity separated from God’s presence in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). This truth should motivate us to urgently share the gospel while we can.
11. Heaven awaits those who are found in Christ
For those who respond in repentance and faith to the gospel, being found by God means they now have access to eternal life in heaven. Jesus promised His followers, “I go to prepare a place for you….I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3). To be “in Christ” means when He appears, “you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). In Revelation 21, John describes the majestic heavenly city believers will inhabit for eternity in God’s presence. What amazing grace that God seeks out lost sinners to give them this glorious future!
To be spiritually lost means to be in a state of separation from God and under His judgment. All people are born into spiritual lostness because of sin. But God took the initiative to redeem the lost by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. When, by the Holy Spirit’s work, we turn from our sins and believe the gospel, we are found by God and reconciled to Him. This results in a new spiritual life evidenced by fruit and good works. God promises eternal life in heaven to all who are found in Christ. Out of love, those who have been found should participate in God’s mission to seek the lost through proclaiming the gospel message.