D.L. Moody, the famous evangelist, had a way of saying things with a bluntness that couldn't be misunderstood. Once he said, "A man must believe he is lost before he can be saved. One reason why many are not saved is because they do not believe they are lost. They fold their self-righteousness about them, instead of acknowledging that they are sinners."
Many popular religions today don't teach that men are lost (that's why they're popular). They tell men that they need Jesus Christ, not as a Savior, but as One through Whom they can have a better relationship with God; not to save them from hell, but to enable them to realize their potential, to be successful, to have better family relationships, to enjoy better health, etc., - the list is endless. But the one essential is missing. Men need Jesus Christ, not to improve their earthly, but their eternal state; to fit them for heaven and save them from hell. (Hell is another word that has disappeared from the vocabulary of today's popular preacher, but it is Christ Who declares the existence of hell, and Who warns men to save themselves from going there, see, e.g., Matthew 5:27-30, and Matthew 18:8-11, "...it is better for thee to enter into (eternal) life... maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire ... better ... to enter into (eternal) life with one eye ... than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.... The Son of man is come to save those who are lost."
"Sin" is another word avoided by the popular preachers. They prefer to speak of "affairs" or "mistakes," or "anti-social acts." They question whether there really is any such thing as sin; but the Bible declares it to be a tragic fact, having terrible results here on earth, and still more terrible consequences in eternity. For example, the Bible says, "All have sinned," Romans 3:23; "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," 1 John 1:8.
"So what?" someone responds, "Since all have sinned, I'm no worse than anyone else. But the Bible warns, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," Ezekiel 18:4, "For the wages of sin is death," Romans 6:23. And it is a mistake to conclude that "death" is simply the decease of the body, for the Bible also warns that the death referred to is something more terrible: the passing of body, soul, and spirit into a place of eternal torment - the lake of fire, see Revelation 20:11-15. This is what it means to perish in the Biblical sense - not cessation of existence, but eternal existence in a state of torment.
But, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 1 Timothy 1:15; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.... He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already," John 3:16-18,36.
by Jim Melough
by Jim Melough