He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” 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. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:22-30
A few years ago I was standing in the back yard of my brother Mike’s house. We four brothers conversation had taken a turn from the usual brotherly conversations concerning the fate of the Astros, Rockets of Texans to salvation. I forget how we came to this discussion. Perhaps younger brother Rob or next younger brother John had said something that caused us to discuss if Jesus is the only way to heave, Now Mike has a good friend who is Jewish and he could not bring himself the believe that such a good man would not get into heaven because rather than follow Jesus he chose to remain a Jew.
I think many of us have a good friend who is a good person, well respected in the community who is always doing good things. But, they have never accepted Jesus as Lord and savior. Maybe like my brother’s friend they are Jewish or maybe Mormon, Muslim or not religious at all. Still we know that they are good people. So how can our just and loving God refuse them eternity in heaven?
My answer to my brother was this. God can do anything He wants to do and if God decides to let others into heaven that is His choice. However, what God has chosen to tell us is that Jesus is the only way to God. That is why in today’ verses Jesus tells the people that the gate to salvation is narrow. He was letting the Jews of the day know that just being Jewish and calling Abraham their father was not enough. They had to follow Jesus. The Jews were first in line for salvation. They are God’s chosen people. Yet when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior we Gentiles go to the head of the line. The first become last and the last first.
Each of us when we die will need to have an answer to one question. Whose works do we stand on? If we have chosen to stand on our own works we will be found wanting and will hear “I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!” But if we answer we stand on the works of Christ then He will open the door and welcome us in.
You see we may be good when compared to man’s standard of goodness but that standard fall short. For as Paul tells us in Romans 3:22-23 “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” No, when we die we will be judged by God’s standard and that standard is perfection. Not one of us can come close to God’s standard and by all rights each of us deserves to be separated from God for all eternity. This is the justice that is part of a just God. But the love part of God, a God who loves us unconditionally provided a way past the need to be perfect. God sent Jesus to earth to live the perfect sin free life we could not live and the through Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection He imparted Jesus’ perfection on those who chose to accept God’s grace. For the believer they no longer are judged on their own works but on the works of Christ. We are then free to enter through the narrow gate into the arms of God.
Have a blessed day,