Will few be saved?
- Jewish thinking was that the vast majority of Jews (with very few exceptions) were saved.
- Jesus’ teaching challenged this idea.
Strive to enter through the narrow door.
- Jesus doesn’t answer the question.
- We shouldn’t be focused on how many are saved.
- Our primary focus should be that we are saved.
- Strive translates agonīzomai, where we get our word “agonize.”
- It means to struggle or fight.
- Jesus’ teaching is opposed to the “easy-believism” that pervades the church today.
- But Jesus is not teaching a works-based salvation either.
If you focus on only verses like Matthew 10:26, James 1:12, Hebrews 10:36, and Revelation 2:10, you might wrongly conclude that the redeemed can lose their salvation if they do not persevere.
If you focus on only verses like John 10:27-28, Eph. 1:13-14, and Phil. 1:6, you might wrongly conclude that the redeemed are saved regardless of whether they persevere.
When you consider the whole counsel of God (all of scripture), you recognize that those who are truly redeemed will persevere and will be saved.
- “Many will seek to enter and not be able.”
- This does not mean that some will strive to enter in this life and be denied.
- This refers to judgment, when it’s too late to seek.
- “Once the master has shut the door.”
- The door is shut at your death or Christ’s return.
- Then you might knock or plead your case, but it won’t do any good.
- It’s not enough that they ate and drank with Jesus.
- It’s not enough that they listened to what Jesus taught.
- It’s not enough to prophesy.
- It’s not enough to cast out demons.
- It’s not enough to do mighty works.
- You can do all these things and still be cast into hell.
- The people from the east and west, north and south show that many of those we see as unlikely will be saved.
- The last and the first show that perceptions in this life are often wrong about the next life.
Strive to Enter
The instruction in Philippians 2:12-13 is to work out your own salvation.
- It is equated with obedience (v12).
- It is based on God working in you (v13).
- God changes a believer’s will.
- God changes a believer’s work.
With your will transformed and your works empowered, you will strive for the narrow door.