That’s the way we refer to people outside of the faith — people who don’t believe in Jesus. They’re lost.
The term lost, though, has various meanings.
One way implies that they’re moving and the object they’re looking for is stationary. A person is lost when they don’t have a map, and can’t find their way home.
But in regard to faith, the lost person is not looking for Christ. Christ is the one moving, ever searching, calling out.
The other way is exactly the reverse — lost keys or a lost phone. In this scenario, like the parable of the lost sheep, the lost is stationary and the looker moving. This is the way we’re lost when we’re not in the faith.
God is the one searching. He is constantly after us. We’re the keys, the phone, the sheep — the valued object God wants to find.
He’s not hiding, trying to keep us out. He’s not cold and aloof. He’s good, loving, and doing whatever he can to bring us in.
This brings me hope.
First, because getting closer to God is not solely reliant upon my feeble efforts to do better. And second, because it means those who are lost are closer to God than we think.
There is great hope for them, because eternal life with God is not determined by some heartless machine-like filter. It’s determined by a loving father who wants to bring his valued child home, and that child’s simple willingness to come.