Jesus came to seek the lost, which includes everything that we lost through the fall. Salvation is perfect and complete. Everything that was lost or turned from the purposes of God is included so that we can walk in wholeness and the abundant resurrection life Jesus purchased on the cross.
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
There is something immensely comforting about the well-known parable of the lost sheep. It speaks of the love and faithfulness of God and reminds us of what He was willing to do for us. The core context of today’s verse is obviously spiritual – it’s about salvation. But there is such a rich depth to all that salvation encompasses. It’s far greater than ‘saved from our sins’ because it’s essentially about life in all its abundance. Mankind lost so much more than we often realise. Separation from God includes so many other losses. The beauty of today’s verse is that it reminds us the Jesus came to seek the lost. That’s us, and it starts with our spiritual loss through sin. But that is only the beginning. It’s well worth digging in to discover all the other things that were lost and which Jesus seeks out in order to restore.
Seek the lost has wholeness as an objective.
Wholeness, in God’s terms, could be defined as perfect, complete, and balanced. It’s a condition in which no aspect of our lives exceeds or overrides any other. Obviously, spiritual ‘wholeness’ – forgiveness and redemption – is the primary thing Jesus came to restore. Everything else flows out of this and is dependent on a relationship with Christ. But God created us as multifaceted human beings. We consist of body, soul – mind, emotions, and will – and spirit. The spiritual loss after the fall is replicated in our natural lives as well. We cannot ever separate ourselves from our three-part existence. When Jesus came to seek the lost, it included all the other things that God originally intended for us. Isaiah reminds us of this when he says by His stripes we are healed and made whole. Salvation – seeking out the lost – is for the whole man.
Mankind was created for the glory of God. His intention is that three-part man functions in a whole and balanced way to reflect the nature and character of God. Abundant life in Christ is a restoration of this wholeness, the purpose of seek the lost. It is the outworking of Christ in us to establish what He purchased for us on the cross. Our rebirth as a spiritual new creation includes wholeness in body and soul. This may seem to contradict those scriptures which call us to crucify self but the truth is that that self is the problem. Self is to assert our individual identity and free will against the sovereignty of God. Body and soul are simply the instruments to enforce our independence. In some respects, we could say that self is where Jesus had to seek us and from which He had to save us.
Seek the lost relationship.
This is a critical aspect of seek and save the lost. It’s the foundational outworking of spiritual salvation. God could easily have simply saved us from our sins and left it at that. It is His purpose that we escape eternal death. That’s His desire for us. But with the fall, mankind lost a crucial dimension without which we can never truly be whole. That is relationship with our creator. Sin brought separation from God, and there is a deep longing within every human being for this to be restored. Whether they admit or recognise it is irrelevant. It’s an indisputable spiritual fact. God’s breath in us constantly calls to us. We seek the lost, the wholeness that comes from restoration to relationship with Him. Jesus seeks this too in salvation. Without that connection, we are lost on all levels. It’s a loss that encompasses all that we are.
Relationship – to belong and to love and be loved – is a fundamental drive in every human being. Loneliness is tragic, but the loneliness for God which exists in every unsaved person is eternal. Self, Satan, and the world deceive us to the point where we don’t recognise it for what it really is. As a result, we seek the lost – that which we were created for – in other relationships. We often do find a great measure of fulfilment in our human relationships, but nothing can ever meet the need for intimacy with the creator. Deep will continue to call to deep until we take hold of the beautiful truth that Jesus came to seek the lost and to save it – to restore what we were created for and make us whole. To be truly whole, we must be reconnected with the source of life in us, spirit to spirit.
Seek the lost emotional balance.
I’ve heard some Christians claim that emotions have no place in life in Christ. The idea is that they must be ‘crucified’ along with self. This is a spiritual impossibility because God created us with emotions. As people created in His image, we have the same range of emotions as He has. His intention was therefore that our emotions must work together with and alongside all the other facets of our existence. What this means, though, is that they must work in balance. Without rebirth, our emotions drive human responses and interactions. With the fall, we lost our ability to control our emotions through making them subject to the spirit. Jesus came to seek the lost emotional balance. The first step is to restore the spiritual balance – our spiritual rebirth in Him. Once the spirit is regenerated, emotional balance is achieved by allowing our spirits to take control.
Emotions contain fine nuances that often lead to confusion between what is God-intended and what is self. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that our emotions are redundant once we are born again. In fact, emotions play a significant role in the outworking of salvation. For one thing, God so loved the world. Jesus taught His disciples to love God and others as the greatest commandments. He also talked of abiding in His love. But because they are powerful, emotions are easily manipulated by self and others. Every God-given emotion has its negative counterpart. A good example is Christ’s compassion which enabled Him to lay down His life and seek the lost. The human equivalent is sympathy which doesn’t really engage. It’s a response that essentially requires no commitment from us. Emotional balance is when we allow God to stir those emotions for His purposes outside of self.
Mind, will, and intellect and seek the lost.
Our mind is the powerhouse of control when self is in charge and it’s also the birthplace of our will. Our ability to reason and understand is a critical function in life. A mind lost to self is our greatest danger. We can justify or rationalise almost any decision or use logic to keep us separated from God. It’s often the greatest obstacle to receiving the message of salvation. End time New Age teaching focuses a lot on the power of the human mind, essentially putting it in the place of the power of God. This is only possible because God created our minds as a dynamic tool to work together with spirit and emotion towards wholeness in Christ. He designed them to work for our spirits in His purposes rather than for self. This the is purpose of the command to renew our minds through the Word.
When Christ came to seek the lost, it included establishing the correct order in which mind, will, and intellect are harnessed for God rather than against Him. To seek the lost means to bring these back to the place where they can use spiritual revelation to impact our natural lives. When we begin to interpret and understand things as God sees them, we are able to adjust our lives to line up. Instead of our minds empowering self-will, they will begin to align us with God’s will. Our intellect – which is a kind of ‘transformer’ – takes spiritual truth and transforms it into practical truth for living. Finally, our will accepts the sovereign will of God. Mind, will, and intellect are the seat of obedience to God. Our willingness and ability to obey were lost through the fall and can only be restored in Christ.
Seek the lost applies to physical health.
Death entered the world through the fall, as did all manner of disease. To seek the lost includes the restoration or ‘quickening’ of the body. I can find no instances anywhere in the Bible where God desired or deliberately inflicted ongoing disease on His people. Paul mentions our spirits prospering as our soul prospers. The soul includes the body, and God’s intention is that it should prosper. Much of Christ’s earthly ministry involved healing and deliverance, which is simply another kind of disease which affects body, emotions, and mind. If Jesus came to seek the lost and bring salvation, this seeking must include physical and spiritual healing. Salvation is a complete and perfect ‘package’ which meets every human need. This is necessary because we have lost our ability to be healthy through sin and rebellion. Health is the area the enemy especially targets to prevent us doing God’s work effectively.
Physical health can be a fairly controversial subject but the very fact that Christ’s ministry focused so powerfully on healing should silence all debate. It clearly indicates that God’s will for His people is health and wholeness. He wants us to ‘abound’ unto every good work, and sick people cannot abound unto anything. God would never expect us to do anything that we are incapable of doing. While it’s true that it’s the Spirit in us who does the actual work, we participate by making ourselves available and He wants us healthy. There are times when He may allow illness temporarily or when we don’t receive healing. These are the ‘for instances’ that create the confusion and controversy. Whatever the reasons – which we don’t and cannot understand – Jesus came to seek the lost health of God’s people and restore it through His abundant resurrection life.
Our responsibility to seek the lost.
We are to model our lives on Christ, which means we must seek the lost just as He did. The challenge goes far beyond reaching out to the unsaved. It means making disciples – seeking the lost is an ongoing walk both in our own lives and in the lives of others. Part of our responsibility is to seek all that has been lost in ourselves and others. We must desire to see these things reversed so that the complete and perfect wholeness contained in salvation is restored. This means a deeper love and commitment to others. It’s not simply a matter of being reborn. Rather, God’s purpose is to be reborn and restored. His purpose is that all that was lost would be found and established in us so that we can love, worship, and serve Him as He created us to do – for His glory.
Thank You, Father, for the perfect and complete work of salvation. Thank You for reminding us that we have lost the wholeness You intended for us. Help us to seek the lost aspects of our lives so that You can restore them through Your grace and the work of Jesus. Quicken us in every area of our lives so we may serve Your purpose. Above all, Lord, help us to show others what has been lost so that all may walk in the full measure of salvation.