23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:23, 24)
Will there be few, or many saved? Many profess in our days that the way of salvation is easy, that all one must do is acknowledge Christ; that a God of love would never condemn any to hell.
One day a man asked Jesus if few would be saved. Instead of addressing this question alone to the man who asked, Jesus said to eveyone present:
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate…” His is an interesting way to star his response, Jesus says that one must STRIVE – that is to stringently labor at – entering in. And enter in where? The ‘strait’ gate, notice it’s not spelt ‘straight’ that’s because it’s rather an old English word which actually means ‘difficult’, as in the phrase ‘dire straits.’
Just the begining of Jesus’ response makes clear tha4 being saved is NOT easy: “Strive to enter at the strait [difficult] gate.”
Let’s be clear: Jesus affirms in other places that He will not turn away any who come to Him. yet here, when asked if FEW (rather than many) are saved, He affirms this and lays out this concept: we must strive to enter in. It isn’t as, perhaps, you have been told: that you are accepted just as you are, and will be saved automatically because God loves you.
God certainly does love you. Yet his question of being ‘saved’ goes back to the question of: saved from what? And what need do we have for being ‘saved’ to begin with?
According to the scriptures, there is a real hell, and according to Christ, even in this passage, MOST people will go there.
It may be a comfortable teaching that here is no hell, but people who proclaim that don’t do us any favors. On the contrary, Jesus warns us to ‘strive to enter in’ because he loves us, and doesn’t want us to be lost in hell, which we will be if we don’t do as He warns. In fact, He continues:
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Not only does Jesus affirm this idea of eternal punishment here, but he points out that those who will be begging on the judgment day to be let into heaven will be those who knew of Christ, and acknowledged that He was the Savior, as He said: ‘We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.’ These are people who assumed they were saved by their cultural and societal affiliation with Christianity. But they never strove to enter in… not until it was too late, and they realized they had been lost.
Don’t be lost, friend; while salvation is a free gift, few will enter God’s kingdom.
Jesus references the prophets, here: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These are men (and the prophets, also) who personally cut covenant with God. They understood that man was unrighteous, and required a sacrifice of blood to enter God’s presence, for our sin is so unclean it seperates us from a holy God – and from His kingdom.
Jesus Christ died on the cross as the perfect blood sacrifice so that you, like the prophets, can come and make covenant with God. A covenant is a relational agreement that you will keep forever with someone (marriage is a covenant). God wants to be in covenant with you, but that means that like Him you must be holy: you must turn from, and renounce your sins, and follow Christ forever (strive).
Put faith in Jesus, friend. Cut covenant with God through His sacrifice, and be saved from hell.