Friday, January 25, 2013

Are There Few Who Will Be Saved?

Are there few who will be saved?  This is a question someone asked Jesus as recorded in Luke 13:22.
This article is part of a series on questions recorded in the Bible.

So what is the answer?  Are there few who will be saved?  Jesus' answer is as follows: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Jesus spoke about this issue in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 7. There He says this:“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

So here is what Jesus teaches us in these two passages:
 1) There are two gates and two paths that are available.
 2) One gate is wide and the path behind it is wide.
3) The other gate is narrow, constricted and difficult and the corresponding path is also narrow.
4) The wide gate and path lead ultimately to destruction; to eternal punishment separated from God.
5) The narrow gate and path lead ultimately to life; to eternal life with God.
6) Many people go through the wide gate and take the wide path.
7) Few go in the narrow gate because there are few who find it. Many seek it but are not able. I assume they aren't able because it is difficult to find and difficult to enter.

Jesus' challenge is to strive or agonize to enter the narrow gate. He wants people to realize that there is a way to eternal life and although it is a narrow and difficult path it is worth pursuing so make every effort to enter the narrow gate.

Now why is it that so many people miss it. Here's what I think. Paul, in Romans 10:3 says about his Jewish brothers, "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."  I think what we all try to do is to find a way to earn our way to God. We believe that God will weigh our good and bad deeds against each other and if we have earned enough points, we will be allowed into heaven. The problem of this is that this is not what God is like. God cannot make deals like that. He can't just ignore the fact that we are guilty of many crimes against His reign. Doing so would not be just. So we've invented a God of our own design. Most people are ignorant of God's righteousness, as Romans 10 says, and are trying to establish their own. But God is worthy of nothing less than perfection, and who can achieve that!?

The Bible presents us with a God we could have never thought up. The God of the Bible, in order to satisfy justice and at the same time demonstrate love, came here and took the punishment Himself. Then He offered His perfect righteousness as a gift in exchange for our sinfulness and imperfection. He took the sin and imperfection on Himself. He is simply offering that exchange to anyone who would humble himself or herself and admit that reaching God through our own goodness or effort will not work. We are completely at His mercy.

This last part is the stumbling block for most people. We so desperately want our salvation to be on our own terms. We cannot admit that we are hopelessly lost and have to submit to God's way of doing things.   That's why so few people find that narrow door. How about you?  Have you found it?

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