Who Will Be Lost? Who Will Be Saved?

Thinking young man

Anyone who has even a mild interest in spiritual things wants to go to heaven. Do you just want to go, or are you really going? How can we know if we are going to heaven or not?

Many times when one tries to explain who is and who is not going to heaven, charges are made that such a one is judging others. It is of prime importance that we understand who it is that is the Judge, for there is only one (James 4:12). Paul said, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It does not matter what you or I think. What matters is what He thinks. Judgment will be made according to His word (John 12:48). So what does the word of God say? First of all, it says that many will be lost while only a few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). If we want to be among the saved, we ought to find out what His word says about who will be saved and who will be lost.

Who Will Be Lost?

Those who do not know God will be lost – “The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God…” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). God has given enough evidence to mankind in Creation that we should seek after Him (Romans 1:20; Acts 17:27). If we do not seek after Him and find Him, we will be lost without the remedy for our sins (Romans 6:23).

Those who do not believe will be lost – Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Failure to believe in Jesus will cause one to be eternally lost. The reason is because “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Those who do not obey will be lost – In continuing the point to the Thessalonians about who Jesus was going to punish at His return, Paul said He will deal out retribution “to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). A generation of the Israelites died in the wilderness and they are given as an example for us. We may “fall” as they did “through following the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11).

Those who turn back to sin will be lost – Peter warned of the dangerous influence false teachers could have on faithful Christians: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20). A worse state clearly implies that one who turns back to sin will be lost, regardless of his prior salvation.

Who Will Be Saved?

Those who know God will be saved – Paul spoke of the “surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection… in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11). We must know God and His Son in order to be saved. This knowledge must be according to the Scriptures, not based on our own imagination about Him (cf. John 8:24).

Those who believe will be saved – “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Belief is essential for salvation, but we must be careful as to how we define belief. Is it simply an acknowledgment of Christ and what He has done for our salvation, or is it something more? Notice the next point.

Those who obey will be saved – Many will raise objections to the notion that obedience is necessary for our salvation. But the Bible clearly indicates that “faith alone” is not enough because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:24, 26). In speaking of Christ, the Hebrew writer said, “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). This means we must do all that He has commanded, even the much debated act of baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

Those who remain faithful will be saved – In the letter to the church at Smyrna, the brethren were warned about persecution that was coming. The purpose of the persecution was to get them to denounce their faith in Christ. But Jesus expected them to hold fast to their convictions and not surrender their faith. They were told, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). We must remain faithful to the Lord for as long as we continue to live on this earth in order to receive our reward.


After considering what the word of God says, we have seen the differences between those who will be lost and those who will be saved. Which group will you be in at the day of judgment? If it is not the latter group, why not do what the Bible says you need to do in order to be saved? Salvation is open to all who will faithfully obey the Lord. Why not accept His conditions and come to Him on His terms so that you can be saved in heaven with Him forever?

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