The Narrow Door

Have you ever wondered how many people will be saved? Will it be a few or many? Will it be thousands or millions or billions? Some people have even tried to place a more exact number on those that will be saved. Just how big are the numbers that define a few or many? People have wondered about this ever since the Lord walked among them. In fact Luke records a conversation Jesus had with someone about this very thing.

*   (Luke 13:22-30 NIV)  Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. {23} Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, {24} "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. {25} Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' {26} "Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' {27} "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!' {28} "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. {29} People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. {30} Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."

If we ask the question somewhat differently we can perhaps get a little more insight. Ask this question. Do those that find salvation outnumber those that find destruction? If we recognize that many is a larger number than a few then we see Jesus answered this question.

*   (Mat 7:12-14 NIV)  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. {13} "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. {14} But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Apparently it is easy for many people to see themselves quite differently than they are seen by our Lord. In fact it is becoming more and more common for even some clergy to declare that almost everyone will be saved. But according to scripture there will be quite a few people surprised to find that in spite of their standing in the religious community they will not be spending eternity with our Lord.

*   (Mat 7:18-27 NIV)  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. {19} Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. {20} Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. {21} "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' {23} Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' {24} "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. {25} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. {26} But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. {27} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Well we still don’t have a precise number to our original question. But perhaps the answer we do have is better than the answer we were seeking. If the answer was, “Almost everybody” what incentive would we have to be the men and women we should be? It’s a truism that anything worth having is worth working for. I know that it is by grace that the door to salvation, narrow as it might be, is opened. But I also know that we are required to do certain things.

*   (Phil 2:12-13 NIV)  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, {13} for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Salvation is not cheap! Our Lord, the Son of God, gave up the glory He had living with His Father from before creation of the world to become a man. He hungered and thirsted, and suffered and wept and was tempted in all ways. Yet He was without sin. And yet, for all His goodness, He was tortured, beat, spit upon, mocked, and killed. And He submitted to all of this freely so that he could open that narrow door. That door we need to enter if we want to receive eternal life with Him in His kingdom. The price paid to open that door was not cheap!

*   (John 15:12-14 NIV)  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. {13} Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. {14} You are my friends if you do what I command.

If you do what He commands! What does He command? Love God and Love your neighbor. Keep the commandments. Keep them fully not just superficially. How do we do that? Pray, read your Bible; study your Bible, ask God for His help. Be aware that the easy way is not necessarily the best way. Persevere, go the extra mile. Choose your friends according to the scriptures.

*   (James 4:4 NIV)  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

 

So, I can’t place a number on those that will be saved. I am in good company. Jesus never placed a number on those that will be saved. But this I know, salvation is something I want. The door is narrow but I have an infallible Guide. Jesus!

*   (John 14:6 NIV)  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

*   (John 8:12 NIV)  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

*   (John 16:13 NIV)  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

In the words of our Savior, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”