I wish this were not true and expect you to feel the same. Take care that you are not deceived by wishful thinking. Your eternity depends on it.
Matthew 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate. Since the gate and the road that leads to destruction is wide, and many enter through it. 14But the gate and road that lead to life are narrow, and only a few find it.
Luke 13:23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24”Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I assure you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and begging, ‘Sir, please open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Get out of here, all you evil people!’ 26There will be crying there and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out.”
As a mathematically minded person, when I hear ‘many’, ‘most’ and ‘few’, I think of a bell-curve. ‘Many’ is overloaded, since 1% of a billion is still many, but ‘few’ is a clear counterpart to ‘most’. If few enter into heaven, then most do not. ‘Most’ is a majority whereas ‘few’ is a minority. Perhaps 60%-40% or maybe 95%-5%.
If church attendance is a guide, then 7% of New Zealanders go to church each Sunday. 20% of Americans and less than 1% in many countries. However, as is often said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, just like going to McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger.” But I can’t resist adding, that being born in Hamburg does make you a Hamburger, just as my beloved wife is a Frankfurter ;-).
Pagan religions teach that we will be judged by weighing up our good against our bad. If our good outweighs our bad, then we’re in. Most people are pretty decent. Common opinion is that those who go to Hell are the sort of people who should be in prison. But this ‘few’ is quite contrary to what Jesus said.
However, the Bible says
Romans 3:10 No one is righteous – not even one.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 3:4 everyone is justified freely by his grace through the redemption which Christ Jesus bought.
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him won’t perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned because they haven’t believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Those who think that we’ll get into Heaven by our own actions are horribly deceived. We’re already imperfect. That can’t be undone. If anything imperfect entered Heaven, it would make Heaven imperfect. Instead, we must allow Jesus to cover our imperfection with his free gift of his righteousness.
I find the parable of the sheep and the goats most interesting:
Matthew 25:31 When Jesus comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Everyone will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another, just like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I notice that the righteous are rewarded for the one they helped, whereas the unrighteous go to Hell because they missed one. There are many wonderful people who are atheist, humanist or religious, that strive to do good to those around them, rejecting the thought of eternal reward, but because it’s the right thing to do. But, since these refuse to believe in Jesus, they will not enter eternal life. Likewise, for those who believe, our good works are useless for our justification. The criminal executed next to Jesus was justified merely because he believed.
A life dedicated to God will produce good works, but good works do not prove one’s dedication to God.
Who will enter Heaven?
1 Corinthians 6:9 Don’t you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who have sex with men, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers or swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Those verses have become quite infamous from those seeking to find others in the text, and from those seeking to slander Christians. But really, we can all find ourselves in that list. I think I could personally tick off most of those. But we must continue reading.
11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were made holy, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We’ve all been there, and praise God for what he has saved us from – in this life and in the next.
Judgement is coming
Hebrews 9:27 People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Instead of all our deeds being accounted for and weighed – the good against the bad, it’s like our good deeds are recorded in the book of life and our bad deeds are recorded in the book of the damned. On judgement day, will your name be found in the book of life or the book of the damned? If your name is in the book of the damned, your eternal punishment will be in accordance with every evil thing recorded in that book, starting with refusing to love and follow God. If your name is in the book of life, your eternal reward will be in accordance with your good works, which are recorded in that book, starting with loving and following God, and teaching others to do likewise.
1 Corinthians 3:12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Prepare to die
When you exit the door of this life, will your path have led you into eternal reward or eternal punishment?
Seek the Lord while he may be found;Isaiah 55:6
call on him while he is near.
7Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.