“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 13:23-30 ESV
Jesus tells the disiples to strive to enter the narrow door. Its clear in the scripture in many places that Jesus states that He is that door and in knowing Him we find our way. It's a narrow path, one entrance, pretty clear, so I found myself wandering thorugh the rest of the text and three statements were jumping at me this morning as I read. I find them worth sharing. So here they are in a relatively raw form as I journaled them. I find myself challenged, I pray you will as well.
1. "But we ate and drank in your presence.... you taught in our streets...."
2. "You will see but, not be able to access..."
3. "Depart from me....workers of Evil...
1. Exclusive access: This gospel that we have is exclusive. It is reserved for those who are in Him. those who have connected with him. Not for those who have been around while he was in the room. Not for those who have just heard the message. "you begin to say..." Jesus cuts off the argument in the story. There is not excuse for ones who have lingered with the message and not responded. The narrow door is simple. Jesus is the door. He makes that clear in several places in scripture.
2. To see but not grasp: No matter what anyone wants to say about hell. How it's described in the scripture is always the same in one respect. The descriptives used are not important relative to the fact that at its core, Hell is separation from God. The description here is reflective of the story in Luke 16 where the rich man could see Lazarus but he himself could not find relief. We cloud our thinking when we grieve over the possible torment of a fiery or torturous existence. The real torment is separation from God for all eternity. When that is put into perspective those who are here on earth alive today are merely in Hell's waiting room. The separation they now have from God is a future they face. Only then, as opposed to now, they will see clearly what is lost and then grief will hit them hard. The self torture of grief and gnashing teeth in frustration will be far stronger than anything anyone could ever do to them. Hell, in this since, is an ultimate form of self abuse more than a imposed penalty that God places on one.
3. A word about Self help: One who works good in the eyes of man but does not lead one to become closer to God in his actions is actually doing evil because a temporary patch for the pain is not a cure. Why would one only ease suffereing when the cure is readily available and at hand? We are called to bless other by bringing them into the presence of God. Not ease pain only. So a listening ear is good but without godly counsel at the proper time it's useless. If someone walks away from you feeling better about himself but not knowing any more about who Christ is to them then you have worked an act of Evil because any hope without Christ is a false one.
To be in the presence of someone is not to know them. To hear them speak is not to know them. Just because someone has been to church does not mean they know Jesus. They need those around them who know Him to introduce them to Him. You and I who are frieds of God need to help others make their way to recline at the table. The narrow door Jesus speaks of it clear. It's him. We are to strive to know HIM and nothing short of that. We who do know Him must introduce Him to those who do not know. It is in striving to know Jesus that we will find access through the narrow door.
Father, help me to strive to be always and only seeking You in all things. Lead me to fully undestand the fate awaitng those who sit in Hell's waiting room such that I would never seek to just ease suffering when I stand readily able to offer a cure for the sickness. -In Jesus I stand convicted, Amen