The word of God tells us that God would “have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4), and that He “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). It also tells us that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). The apostle John stated, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (I John 4:14). Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). Obviously, salvation is available to all.
Yet, with all the assurance that salvation is available to all, the Bible also teaches that many will not be able to find it. Jesus said, “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 13:24). He also said, “…strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). Our question for consideration in this article is: Why?
It would seem obvious that one answer to this question is that many will not find it because many will not seek it! None of the passages mentioned guaranteed salvation for all, without any effort on their part. Too often, people think they will have plenty of time for the seeking and the finding after they have enjoyed life for a while only to find out that life wasn’t as long as they had anticipated. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).
However, many do “seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). It may be that they are seeking in the wrong place or by the wrong means. Since the eternal home is provided by God, it is God that must be pleased in order to be admitted. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Pleasing men will not get one in. Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). The apostle John records, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more that the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). Self is not the one that must be pleased. Paul said that it is not wise to compare ourselves with ourselves or measure ourselves by ourselves (II Cor. 10:12). One of the greatest causes of man not finding eternal life is man’s own desire to get what he wants without putting what God said first. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Man seems to seek first his own desires and then, if there is a way to work something in from God that doesn’t interfere with their life, they may consider it.
God’s word is the only reliable source of guidance to eternal life. Paul said that the gospel of Christ “is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). James said that we are to “lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Ja. 1:21). Peter said that one is “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23). Jesus said that God’s word is truth (John 17:17). He also said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). On the day of judgment, we will be judged by what we have done as compared to what God has said. Jesus said, “…the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Paul said, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). And to the Corinthians he wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). Since we will be judged by what God’s word says, then we will not be judged by: what the preacher said, what we have always believed, what our traditional religion has taught, what we feel or think is right or what the majority believe to be true. Many will fail to enter in because they simply will not seek in the right path. Jesus said, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). He also said, “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13). It is very likely that the “few there be that find it” will be much fewer than many of us realize. God’s way is the only way!
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: email@example.com)