Jesus has said, many are called, but few are chosen, so are there only a few that will be saved?
Many are Called
The religious Jews believed that their entrance into kingdom was associated with obedience to God’s Law, but there is great danger in that because those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9), were self-righteous, and God will not accept their filthy works (Isaiah 64:6). I wouldn’t trust the best 15 minutes of my life to buy me one second in heaven. And more than that, their beliefs are contrary to the gospel which says that “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10). Are you trying to justify yourself by the Law? Repent of this because “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). James’ point is a good one; not one of us could ever keep the Law. So who goes to heaven? Apparently, fewer than most people think because Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). Jesus is saying it’s not enough to say, “I know the Lord,” but the question with eternal implications is, “Does He know you?” It’s not enough to know God; it is critical to have God know you, more specifically, Jesus Christ!
Known by God
Those do the will of the Father’s are known by Him (Matt 12:50; John 6:40), but to show us that it’s not enough to say, “I know the Lord,” Jesus says, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name” (Matt 7:22)? Notice that there were many, and they were busy do many things, but to these same “many,” Jesus says, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). Of course, that’s not what most people expect to hear on the Day of Judgment, especially those who claim to be Christian. That’s rather shocking I know, so it’s not surprising that someone asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” (Luke 13:23). If there was ever a time where Jesus could have reassured the crowd, this would have been it, but instead, the Lord says we must “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23). Once again, the Lord indicates that “many” will believe they’ll enter the kingdom, and many will say “Lord, Lord,” but these many will be stunned by hearing Jesus say, “I never knew you.” Not, “I didn’t know you well enough,” or “I wished I had known you better,” but “I never knew you,” and noone wants to hear those words.
The Narrow Gate
Entering into the kingdom is only made possible because of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:21), but I don’t know of any believers who say that life’s gotten easier since they trusted in Christ. The truth is, for most, it’s gotten a lot harder. The path that leads away from Christ and toward destruction is easy…it’s like taking a 16-lane expressway, and it’s so wide because so many are traversing it. Remember, many are thinking they’re going the right way, but instead, they’re heading down the broad path that leads to destruction. This is why Jesus stressed that we “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:13-14). Interestingly, Jesus Himself is the Gate that leads to eternal life (John 10:9), and those that enter it know that Jesus is the one and only way to the Father (John 6:44; Acts 4:12). The reason the way is so exceedingly narrow is because we must come to the Father through Jesus Christ and Him alone (Acts 4:12), and that decision to turn from our former lives and toward God is agonizing. In fact, the Greek word used for strive means to agonize, so the way to eternal life is not coasting downhill, but agonizing over an uphill battle; a spiritual battle against the flesh, the world, and spiritual forces. The path is so narrow that not even two can enter at the same time, nor can they ride on someone’s coattails like their godly grandmother. From my experience, I find few believers who aren’t striving to live like Christ while living in this world. Any old dead fish can float downstream, and that was us at one time (Eph 2:1-6), but it’s the ones that strive that enter into the next life.
Few Are Chosen
How many are “many?” Jesus said, “many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24b). Many will try, but many won’t be able to, since “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). Many will say, “Lord, Lord,” but these same “many” will be turned away. That’s why it’s critical to make your election and calling sure (2 Pet 1:10), and do it while it’s still called “today” (2 Cor 6:2). Eternity is a long time to be wrong. If you ask the average person whether they’re a good person, they’ll likely say yes, but what happens when they’re exposed to the Word of God that says we’re all liars, but God cannot and does not lie, (Num 23:19; Rom 3:4; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18)? What does the self-righteous (“I’m a pretty good person”) say to the fact that none are good…not even one (Rom 3:10-12); and what can any of us say about the truth that we all fall infinitely short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23)? Since we are all under the condemnation of God, and the Law declares us all guilty, we are left speechless before God. And it takes away any human excuse we can come up with (Rom 3:19).
It’s not rocket science to trust in Christ. Even a child can understand what it means to trust in Christ. They already trust their parents, so to trust in Jesus Christ, Who is God Himself, is infinitely greater in trust. Jesus has said, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:25-26), but more importantly, they will be known by the Father, but also by the Son. May you hear these joyous words from our Lord Himself: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:23). This stands in stark contrast to hearing, “cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 25:30).