How many are going to make it? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Hey. We all knew the answer to the question had to be 42. Right? That’s the answer to every question.
But now to be serious. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to make sure to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life instead of the wide gate that leads to destruction and few will find it. This relates to eschatology since some people think a more postmillennial idea of Revelation is untenable since who would say the world is going to get better and better. Have you seen the news?
Yes. I have. I also know the news only emphasizes the bad news. In a hypothetical situation, 100 planes take off in America in one day. One crashes. Nothing is said about the 99 safe flights. Only something is said about the one that crashed.
Of course, many of us would not watch the news if it was bland and boring. “Tonight, we report that there were no murders or rapes in our city.” Hardly breaking news. Bad news just sells.
But here we have Jesus. Is Jesus saying that most people aren’t going to make it? Not necessarily. I think it’s quite likely Jesus is speaking to His immediate audience. That would fit since few embraced Him as Messiah in His time. It’s also in line with what we see in Revelation, that a great multitude from all over the world is in front of the throne and the Lamb enjoying the presence of God.
That being said, many people are sharing a story about a problem in the church where 30% of evangelicals don’t think Jesus is God. That would actually be false. If they don’t think that, they don’t qualify as evangelicals. Let’s keep in mind though that this is in the Western Church. Go to the East where people actually have to be willing to die for their faith and they take it a bit more seriously.
When we get to Matthew 13, we’ll look a bit more at the idea that things will get better for the Kingdom based on the parables there, but for now, we need to comment on this. Jesus is speaking to a group of people at one time and there’s no indication that He means all people for all times. Of course, all people should seek and strive to enter into the Kingdom. Keep in mind also that when Jesus is asked in Luke how many will be saved, He refuses to answer. (Even though the answer would be 42)
Jesus is not interested in a numeric account, although we can easily say the number of people who replied positively to His immediate message were few. Still, even in Acts we see the number growing. Luke before too long describes the number as multiplying. In the end when Paul reaches Rome, there are already Christians there waiting for Him.
There are several cultish groups out there that want to have you think that only a few select people are going to make it. (Consider Darwin Fish as an example. Yes. That’s not a joke. That’s the actual name of the man.) There are plenty of discernment ministries out there convinced everyone is a heretic except the person running them.
However, I believe God’s grace is greater than we think. I am not advocating anything like universalism or something like that. I am saying though that God would rather save than condemn and would rather show mercy than to judge. This should give us all hope. This could extend to some who never hear the gospel at all through no fault of their own.
Yet as I have said many times, we have no guarantees and we are not given details. Matthew ends with the Great Commission. Those are the marching orders. God never gives a Plan B. He never tells us what happens if we fail at the Great Commission. He just assumes that we do it.
So let’s do it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)