Thursday, April 25, 2013

Luke 13:22-30

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”

And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 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.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

“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. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Jesus' answer to the question is shocking. There will be those who desire salvation that will not find it. We make it seem pretty easy to be a Christian - say a prayer, receive baptism, take communion, be confirmed, or some other combination of tasks and you are in. It is true that salvation is through grace alone, but it also begins a battle against flesh and sin. Those desiring the kingdom of God must fight for it.

Jesus says a time will come when many seeking salvation will find the door shut in their face. It will be too late. They will not be able to enter the kingdom of God. In fact, the owner (Jesus) will say he doesn't even know them, despite the fact that they ate with him and listened to his teachings.

Jesus is exclusive. Christianity is exclusive. Yes, all are welcome. Regardless of nationality, gender, language, socioeconomic status, or lifestyle, you are welcome. But there is only one narrow door into the kingdom of God. There are not many paths to salvation. Good works get you no closer to the right side of the door. Jesus himself taught, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Jesus does not directly answer the question. It doesn't matter how many are being saved, it only matters that you are one of them. Those who heard Jesus' teaching and did not follow him were not more evil than we are. In fact, if we examined most of them we would find them to be quite righteous. But on the one thing that matters most, justification through Jesus Christ, they are found lacking.

Strive to enter through the narrow door.

"Salvation is by grace, by grace alone. Nevertheless, divine grace is not exercised at the expense of holiness. It never compromises with sin. It is also true that salvation is a free gift, but an empty hand must receive it and not a hand which still tightly grasps the world. Something more than believing is necessary to salvation. A heart that is steeled in rebellion against God cannot savingly believe. It must first be broken. Only those who are spiritually blind would declare that Christ will save any who despises authority and refuse his yoke. Those preachers who tell sinners that they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without surrendering to the lordship of Christ are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that heaven must be earned by our own efforts." - A. W. Pink

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