Enter By The Narrow Gate
The bible does confirm that most people will be lost. Isn’t that a sad thought? It’s very sad, but the bible says it’s true. And because of that truth, most people will spend an eternity in Hell.
Jesus has told us, in Mathew 7:13, “Enter by the narrow gate” And here’s the reason that He said that.. “For the gate is wide, and the way is broad, that leads to destruction, and MANY are those who enter by it.”
And then Jesus tells why that statement is true.. “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow, that leads to life, and FEW are those who find it.” V-14
Many will enter destruction by the road path and the wide gate. But few will find the narrow way and the small gate, that leads to life. MANY compared to FEW. Many will be lost, and few will be saved. That’s very sad, but unfortunately, it’s the truth! Jesus said it, and we better believe it.
So the question remains.. Are some people destined for hell? Worse yet, Are MOST people destined for hell? Has God only chosen to save a few? Well, the bible answers those questions, and thankfully, it’s not very difficult to understand when we do a little research of God’s word.
We’re told in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some count slowness, but He is patient towards you, not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”
Now when it says, “The Lord is not slow..” it simply means that God doesn’t keep the same time table as we do. V-8 had just advised us, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years, as a day.” God is in eternity. There’s no past or future in eternity, everything is right now! It’s always “right now”. Doesn’t that make it easy to understand why God Doesn’t change? God is always the same. If you lived only in the present, you couldn’t change either. You’d always be just the way you are right now, because it would always BE right now.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I am has sent me, to you.” Exodus 3:14 . God said, through the prophet Malachi, “I the Lord, do not change!” Mal 3:6 We’re told in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Jesus the Christ is God, and He doesn’t change either!
So God is not “slow” concerning His promise, it’s all really the same, if His promise of eternal life comes today, or if it comes a thousand years from now. Or two thousand years from now. “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. FOR, the promise is for you, and for your children, and all who far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39
“And THIS is the promise that He has promised us, Eternal Life!” 1 John 2:25
And that promise is for you and for me, and for “as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”
Listen to Romans 8:29-30, “For whom He foreknew, He has also PREDESTINED to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He predestined, these He also CALLED, and whom He called, He also JUSTIFIED and whom He justified, these He also GLORIFIED!”
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet, what we will be. We KNOW that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2 When Jesus comes, when “He appears”, we will be GLORIFIED, just as He was glorified, and our spiritual bodies, will be like His, and we will see Him, “just as He is”.
What about those verses that spoke of being “predestined”? Does that mean that God has already chosen and selected, those who will be saved? And so, are only a FEW, predestined for heaven? Well, the answer is NO. God has not “chosen” who will be saved and who will be lost, even before we live. Some people do conclude that, but that conclusion is based on a LACK of knowledge of the bible. We want to base our conclusions on what we KNOW God’s word says.
Remember Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason TOGETHER, says the Lord.” Jesus said, “You shall know THE TRUTH, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32.
We need to know the word of God, which is the truth. And we need to use that word of God, and REASON, with that word, so that we KNOW the truth. And once we do know the truth, that truth has the power to set us free from sin. Free from the penalty of sin, free from the consequences of sin. “I’m not shamed of the gospel, for it is the POWER of God for salvation, to all who believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16 And the phrase, “and also to the Greek” simply means, to the non-Jews. So that’s ALL other people included. But the gospel was preached FIRST to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. Again, which means ALL other nations.
Who Has God Predestined ?
Still the question is, Who has God predestined, and HOW has He predestined them? Let’s go to Ephesians 1:3-8, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Just as he chose US, IN Him, before the foundation of the world (that means before the world was created), that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love.”
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us, IN His beloved. IN Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He LAVISHED upon us, in all wisdom and insight.”
Now that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? But listen to verses 9-14. I know that there’s a lot here to digest, but we’ll go slowly. Eph 1:9-14, “He made known to us, the mystery of His will, according to His Kind intention which he purposed in Him, FOR the administration of the fullness of times (or the completion of time) Everything has to be in the “fullness of time” Gal 4;4 tells us that “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law”. Now back to our verse in Ephesians, “For the administration of the fullness of time; That is, the summing up, of all things IN Christ, things regarding the heavens, and things upon the earth.”
“IN Him also, we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ, should be to the praise of His glory.”
“IN Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also BELIEVED – you were sealed IN Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a PLEDGE of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
God works all things after the counsel of His will. That’s one of the things that we just read. So here’s what needs to be emphasized.. It is after the counsel of His will, that “IN Him, YOU ALSO, after listening to the message of truth.. ” I’m going to stop here for a minute. Listen to 1 Cor 1:21 for a moment, “For since in the wisdom of God, the world in it’s wisdom, did not come to KNOW God, God was well-pleased, through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who BELIEVE.”
Did you get that? In the wisdom of God.. the world in it’s wisdom, did not come to know God. So, it’s according to the counsel of God, that the world’s wisdom will NOT enable you to come to know God! God had said in V-19, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever, I will set aside.” That’s actually a quote of the Old Testament from Isaiah 29:14, which says, “Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
Now back to Ephesians chapter 1, V-13, “IN Him, YOU ALSO, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also BELIEVED, you were sealed IN Him with the Holy Spirit of Promise.” Having also believed. You listened, and then you also believed. That is critical, to understanding HOW a person is predestined! Remember, this is “according to His purpose, who works ALL things after the counsel of His will.”
I want to go to maybe the most well-known verse of the bible, and that is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world (that means “the people” of the world), That He gave His only begotten son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.” This too, is according to His purpose, and after the counsel of His will.
Ephesians chapter 3, the apostle Paul wrote, “To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the gentiles, the unfathomable riches of Christ; And to bring to light, what is the administration, of the mystery, which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things.”
Remember Ephesians 1, V-10 ? “For the administration of the fullness of times.” Well, Paul was given the privilege, of “bringing to light, what is the administration of the mystery, which for AGES had been hidden in God.” But now, the fullness of time is here! And we have the gospel revealed to us, IN FULL. And when the fullness of that message was brought to light, it told us that we were to “listen to the message of truth”, and that after listening, we are to BELIEVE what it says.
Those Who Believe Are Predestined To Be Saved
The people who are predestined for salvation, are those people who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus built His body of believers on that ONE great truth! The apostle Peter said to Jesus, in Mathew 16:16, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God!” And Jesus replied in V-18, “..And upon this ROCK, I will build My church!” Jesus called that truth, that He is the Christ, the Son of God, “A ROCK”. Upon this Rock, I will build My church. His church is His body. Ephesians 1:22-23, and also Collosians 1:18.
We read in John 20, V-30-31, “Many other signs therefore, Jesus also performed in the presence of His disciples, that are NOT written in this book. But THESE have been written, That you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing, you may have life IN Him.”
It is “according to the purpose of God”, and it is “after the counsel of His will”, that we listen to the “message of truth”, and that after we have listened, after we’ve “heard”, that we “believe” that message. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
The apostle Paul, was given the grace from God, to have the privilege of bringing to light, the administration of the mystery of the gospel, and in the book of James, we’re told, “..in humility, receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But, prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:21-22.
And concerning Paul’s preaching of the word, we’re told in Eph 3:10, that this was done, “In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church, to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in ACCORDANCE with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness, and confident access through Him in faith.”
Two comments about that verse. First, “the rulers and authorities”. The word “rulers” refers to those who have “preeminence”, and the word “authorities” refers to those who have been given a degree of “power”, you might say.
And secondly, the phrase, “in the heavenly places” refers to the activities of a spiritual nature. So, the church, the body of Christ, has the responsibility, we have the duty, to make known to those of people of preeminence, and to those who might have some degree of “ruling power” in spiritual matters, the manifold wisdom of God. Remember, “The world, in it’s wisdom, did not come to know God”. But in God’s wisdom, His spiritual body has the responsibility, to preach the word to ALL people, and maybe ESPECIALLY to those who have the “power” to lead souls away from the true word of Christ, and lead them down the broad path that leads to destruction.
God “..desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim 2:4
“For the grace of God, that beings salvation, has appeared to ALL men.” Titus 2:11
NO one is predestined for destruction! Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, NOT for human souls. Mat 25:41 tells us that. “Then He will say to those on His left, (the left, is just figurative) Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Remember how James said, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers” ? Well, Jesus says here, “For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, in prison and you did not visit Me.” Mat 25:42-43
Jesus went on to say, “Truly I say to you; To the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” V-45. “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” V-46
For the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and MANY are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and FEW are those who find it.”
It is according to God’s purpose, and it is after the counsel of His will..
That we hear His word and believe His word. Rom 10:17, Jn 8:24
That we repent of our sins. God has declared that all men everywhere should repent! Acts 17:30, Lk 13:3, Lk 13:5
That we confess His name before men. Or we’ll be denied heaven. Mat 10:32-33, Rom 10:10, Acts 8:37
It is according to “the eternal purpose, which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord”, that we be buried in baptism for the forgiveness of our sins. Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:3-4, Gal 3:27
And it is according to His will, that we “remain faithful unto death.” Rev 2:10
Heaven was prepared, heaven IS prepared for the faithful, and the obedient. Faith and obedience, that’s all it requires to go to heaven. May the God of heaven bless you in the STUDY and the PRACTICE of His word.