Will some people who believe in God be lost?

     

Nannygranne and her sweet neighbor girl Kiera were watching Pilgrim’s Progress together when her young guest asked, “Will some people who believe in God be lost?”

Kiera had so many ten-year-old type questions. Nannygranne could tell she was processing as she watched the movie.  She also knew that these moments could be pivotal in Kiera’s own journey into the Kingdom.  

“Wow, girl!” Nannygranne said, “You’ve asked a really big question.  In fact, it’s so important that I don’t think I should just give you my words.  I think we need to hear Jesus’ words to answer your question.  After the movie, you want to have some hot chocolate and see what He says in the Bible?”

“Okay,” Kiera replied with a smile.  Settling back with her popcorn, she seemed content to wait for her answer. Nannygranne used the time to pray and call to mind the scriptures where Jesus made statements about believers being lost.  Those verses aren’t the ones most people are familiar with.  They’re not comforting, but regardless of how people feel about it, He said what He meant to say so Nannygranne knew they had to look at them..

Later, settled at the kitchen table with their hot drinks and newly-baked peanut-butter cookies, Nannygranne pulled out her worn, large-print Bible.  And she queued up her on-line Bible concordance to help with searches.  

“Okay, Kiera.  I’m going to try to find some verses where Jesus talks about believers who would be lost.  He’s the one that decides who is saved and lost.  Our job is to listen to Him and follow His words.  Is that what you think, too?”

“Uh, huh.”

“I remember one verse, James 2:19, that says the devils believe and tremble.” Nannygranne helped the girl find the verse.

“Oh, I know the devils won’t go to heaven.  They don’t really believe, do they?” 

“Well, the Bible says they do.  Do you think there might be different kinds of ‘belief’?  What kind of belief do you think the devils have?”  

Nannygranne knew this question was far more important than Kiera might know.

Kiera looked at the verse several seconds, then looked up at Nannygranne and shrugged her shoulders.  “I don’t know.  Maybe they KNOW he is God, but they don’t like Him.”

“So then sometimes there might be someone who knows—or believes—that God is there, but they don’t really care enough to listen to Him?  Is that what you’re saying?”

“I guess there could be people like that.”

“I agree with you.  Now let’s look at something Jesus said.  It’s a hard saying, and people don’t like to talk about this, but I think it must be important because God put it in the Bible.  Let’s look at Matthew 7.  Jesus starts out saying we can’t put people down because we think they’re bad at heart, because we don’t know anyone’s heart. Only God does.  He tells us that, if we need Him, to call for Him, look for Him, and go to Him. Then Jesus says to treat people the way you’d want them to treat you.  He then said that you’d be able to tell what people are like by what happens when they’re around.  

“It was after all that, that Jesus said the hard-to-hear thing.  He said that when He comes to take all His people home, there will be people who think they will go with Him.  They’ll brag about doing big things for Jesus, but they never took time to call for Him, look for Him or go to Him, so they never got acquainted with Him.  Jesus will only take His friends home.  Can you read verses 21-23 for us?”

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Nannygranne waited for the words to soak in.  “What kind of faith do you think those people had, Kiera?  Did they like Jesus?”

Kiera thought for several seconds.  Finally, she said, “They must have liked Jesus because they did all those things for Him.  Why wouldn’t they get to know Jesus?”  Her voice held the sadness such a thought deserves.

“I’m not sure, but it sounds like maybe they thought they could get Jesus to admire how smart they were without needing Him.  Sometimes people think they don’t really need to depend on Jesus.  They like the way they’re doing things and how it makes them feel and don’t even find out what Jesus really wants.”  

Nannygranne handed the girl a napkin for her little chocolate mustache.  “Jesus wants us to believe that He’s more important than anyone or anything when it comes to living our lives.  That’s the kind of belief Jesus says we have to have.” 

“How do you know if you really believe right, Nannygranne?”  

The woman’s heart went out to the girl, knowing seekers of all ages have asked that same question with the same concern she saw in the child’s wide eyes.  But she also knew that John 20:31 teaches that Jesus doesn’t want His real followers to worry, but to know—based on scripture—that we are saved. She wanted Kiera to know that if anyone is lost, it won’t be God’s fault. The choice is theirs. 

She took the girl’s small hand with a reassuring smile.  “Well, to start with, you need to know how much Jesus wantsyou.  Paul told the Christians in Rome that nothing—absolutely nothing—will ever stop God from loving us.1  We can’t stop Him from loving us and we can’t make Him love us any more than someone else.  God loves because He IS love, not because we’re always loveable.2  

“Jesus told a man one night that God loved the whole world so much that He sent Jesus so that people who believed in Him could be saved.3  And Paul told his friend, Timothy, that God wants all men to be saved. Peter wrote that God doesn’t want anyone to be lost, but He wants them to change and become followers of Jesus.5  And Jesus wants to be your friend and for us to prove it by listening to Him and doing what He wants.6   Jesus wants us to be in his family! God went to a lot of trouble to be able to save us from a bad life now and to take us to be together with Him forever.” 

Patting Kiera’s arm, Nannygranne said, “So to have the right faith, you do what He said to do. You ask for Him, look for Him, and go to Him.”

Kiera said, “How do I do that?”

“Well, let’s read how people in the Bible asked for, looked for, and went to Jesus.”  Together they turned to the book of Acts and read story after story.  

Kiera had more questions but eventually decided she knew the answer to her first question:  

Only the truly believing, dependant, and faithful ones (not perfect) are saved. 

 The Bible tells us so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Romans 8:38-39

I John 4:8

John 3:16-17

I Tim 2:3-4

II Peter 3:9

6 John 15:14

Matthew 12:50

More regarding believers falling from grace:  I Peter 4:18; I Cor 10:12; I Tim 3:6-7; Heb 4:11; Heb 12:15; James 5:17; II Peter 3:17. What Jesus said to churches: Rev 2:5, 15-16; 3:1, 11, 17&21.

Author:

I am a mother, grandmother, nanny, and writer—with a passionate concern about children, all children. With the help of my son Travis (who has a graduate degree in apologetics) I hope to share some thoughts that will be helpful to all who have the same concern.

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