Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. Matthew 18:11 reads, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” And Luke 19:10 states, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Most preachers and theologians interpret these verses as applying to the general condition of all humanity brought about by Adam and Eve’s so-called “fall” in the Garden of Eden. What is your understanding of Matthew 18:11 and Luke 19:10?
A. “Lost” in this context refers to all of humanity except for those individuals who have come under the blood of Christ. All have sinned, and the wages of sin is eternal death in the lake of fire (I john 1:8, 10; Rom. 3:23, 6:23; Rev. 20:14-15). Therefore, everyone who has not yet accepted Christ as his or her Savior are on “Death Row,” so to speak awaiting the death penalty for sins. Those who have not accepted Christ are “perishing.” This principle may be seen in II Thess. 2:10 (NIV): “and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”

Jesus Christ came to save sinners those who admit that they were sinners, such as Zacchaeus, and who made an effort to live righteous lives (Luke 19:5-10). This stands in sharp contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees, who labeled the publicans (tax collectors for the Roman government) sinners and believed themselves to be righteous.

So unless a person admits he is a sinner, repents, and accepts Christ he is doomed to ultimate eternal death he is “lost.” But this does not mean that God will not give everyone a chance to be saved. That opportunity may not come in this life, however, it may come at a future resurrection to physical life. (For more on this subject visit our website,, and type in resurrection and salvation in the SEARCH window).
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