by Susan Lafferty
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — The question lingers through the centuries. Around the world. In religious gatherings. And institutions of learning. City streets. Local hangouts.
And I read it in the Scriptures. The unnamed someone asks Jesus in Luke 13:23, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
Only a few? We hear the concern in our day. Are you saying not everyone goes to heaven? Isn’t that narrow-minded? How can a God of love do that?
But here Jesus doesn’t answer the “only a few” question.
He speaks of the urgency. The all-in. The action required.
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door …”
This is not a drill. This is not something to put off until later.”… Because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door” (Luke 13:24-25)
People wait. Avoid. Reject. Resist the inclusive invitation to the exclusive Way. And find themselves knocking on the narrow door. The closed narrow door.
And what He shuts, no one can open.
“Lord, open up for us!”
“I don’t know you or where you’re from” (Luke 13:25).
They try to make a case for why they should be allowed in. Now.
“We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets” (Luke 13:26).
We were right there at the table. Hanging out with You, Jesus.
But salvation by association? It doesn’t work that way in the Kingdom of God.
The next words of Jesus are direct. Stunning. True.
“But he will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from me, all you evildoers.'”
Wait. What? Evildoers? Isn’t that a little harsh? What makes those inside any better than those outside?
Nothing. Except the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The blood of the Lamb taking away the sin of the world.
That’s why we share the Good News. That the Narrow Door leads to eternal life. For all who repent and believe.
“Make every effort to enter the narrow door.”
In the conclusion of His story, to the unnamed someone, Jesus speaks of those coming from the East and West, from the North and South to share the banquet in the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:29).
With that vision we pray for the lost. We give. We send.
We go. “… And make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything (Jesus) commanded …” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Because someday we will join not “only a few,” but a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language “which no one can number.”
All standing before the throne and before the Lamb, before our Savior, we will worship Him together (Revelation 7:9-10).
Today the narrow door is open. There’s room for more.
“Make every effort to enter.”
What about you?
Have you ever struggled with the reality that not all choose the narrow Way? Do you hear people question the requirement of the narrow door in conversations where you live? How do you share the inclusive invitation to the exclusive Way of salvation?
Susan and Todd Lafferty spent 27 years in Asia with the International Mission Board. Todd now serves as executive vice president of the IMB. Susan is a writer and blogs at susanlafferty.com.
Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention