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Jesus Answers Better Than We Ask




man looking puzzled

Jesus has an amazing way of answering speculative questions with essential answers.  He answers better than we ask.


One day someone asked Jesus this question:  “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”  It’s an interesting question that Jesus chooses not to answer.  Rather he answers a much more important question:  “Am I going to be saved?"  He said to the person asking the question, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:23).


Our Lord’s point is simple: “Don’t worry about the number of people who will go to heaven.  Instead, worry about whether you will go to heaven.”  We really can’t control what other people do with the Gospel – but we can control what we do with the Gospel.  We must embrace it, trust in Jesus, and then work out the implications of that Gospel in our daily lives.


Simple faith and trust are essential, but come with the call to change our lives.  There is a kind of faith that is merely intellectual in nature and doesn’t really save.  Saving faith entails a struggle with sin, a turning away from it, and a dying to self.  It entails living like Jesus lived, loving others, rearranging our priorities and seeking first the kingdom of God.  James addresses this issue when he asks, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” (James 2:14) A mere head-level belief in God is not enough.  Saving faith involves - among other things – doing deeds of service and meeting practical needs.  For example, James asks what the point is in having a faith that turns away from the hungry and those needing clothing.  Needless to say, that turning away indicates an empty, bogus kind of faith. 


When Jesus challenges us to enter through the narrow door, he means that we should take our faith seriously and go to great lengths to make sure that we are truly saved.  The word we translate as “make every effort” forms the basis for our English word “agonize.”  It means turning over every stone and going the extra mile in our efforts to live the Christian life.

 

Many church-going people are too nonchalant in their Christian walk.  They compromise on sin, compromise with the world, and lead a generally careless life.  They feel secure knowing that they believe in Jesus, but may very well be on a path to destruction.  In a passage related to the one in Luke 13, Jesus describes these casual followers as walking on a road to destruction.  In Matthew 7:13 Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  The broad road is an easy road, involving very little commitment.  It's a crowded street.

person slogging along a muddy path

The narrow gate and the narrow road that lead to salvation are full of suffering, hardship and persecution.  It is not an easy road to walk.  But - - it does lead to eternal life!


The gift of salvation is offered freely to those put faith in Christ.  And we need to rejoice in that gift!  (Ephesians 2:8-9) But when God works in our hearts, giving us real faith, he also changes our hearts and gives us a desire to live qualitatively different lives.  Our lives should be slowly changing for the better and becoming more like Jesus.


Peter challenges us all to change and grow in our faith.  In 2 Peter 1:5 we’re told to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  When we see these things in our lives, we are assured that we have a genuine and saving kind of faith.


Eternal life is something far more than simply living a long time.  It involves far more than just time.  It involves being like, living for and enjoying Jesus moment by moment. 

 

What kind of road are you walking on?


That's the question we should all be asking.     

 

 

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