ONLY A FEW SOULS WILL BE SAVED!
The exclusive and real power of the Cross of Christ in believers.
Jesus declared that only a small number of humanity will enter into eternal life through completely submitting to Him.
From one point of view, this fact powerfully underscores the depth and extent of His love, righteousness, and holiness that must be lived in by all of His people.
According to Matthew, when Jesus summed up His first great teaching about God's indispensable will for the first mass of humanity that gathered to hear Him, He said, "The gate is narrow, and the road is constricted that leads to life, and few are those who find it". The word few means "puny, little, or small". It is the word that is used to describe the number of small fish that Jesus used to feed 4000 men, not counting the women and children who also ate with those men, on one significant occasion. On a similar occasion, Jesus used two fish to feed 5000 men and an unspecified number of women and children, which probably was very large, too. In comparing the two events, one can see that the small number of fish used to feed those in the 4000-men group was, indeed, puny. Another place that highlights the meaning of this word is where Peter declared that God saved a few people from His judgment of the cataclysmic flood in the ancient world. Peter gave that number. The number of people that God spared was only eight, a puny number indeed. On another occasion, Jesus was asked if only a small number of people would really be saved. He answered this question in the affirmative by saying that most people would not be saved. He said that the many would be shut out from the kingdom of God. This word many is the actual Scriptural antonym of the word few that we are considering. It means "many, much, or large".
By these sayings, Jesus declares that the number of Christians is actually small or puny, and the number of all of the lost is, in all reality, large. This large number that is made up of the many of the Earth's inhabitants also includes the inhabitants of the churches. The fact must not be lost sight of that Jesus' opposition did not come only from the secular culture of His day, but came mainly from the religious, Jewish people of His day. It came first from those who were “expert” in the Mosaic Law and the ways of the synagogues, that is, from those who gave themselves to their religion. But these leaders of opposition were not alone. They had substantial influence and a sizable following. They powerfully ruled over the people, and the people acquiesced and followed.
(When Paul said that all Israel would be saved, he was not contradicting or nullifying the words of Jesus, but rather was looking at the redemption of Israel from the particular point of view of the chosen of God. What he was saying was that all of chosen Israel would be saved. Prior to this, Jesus said that many were called, but few were chosen.)
In keeping with these things, since the second century, Jesus’ opposition, which He now experiences through His people, has mainly come from the churches. It is only the chosen few who hear and obey the words of Jesus, while the rest, who are composed of the many, hear, reject, modify, and oppose. These facts at once separate all the churches from Christianity. Christianity is composed of that puny, very small number of disciples who obediently and continually follow Jesus Christ in all that He is and teaches!
Jesus said that the road leading to eternal life that the few find is a constricted road. It is a hard road. The word that translates as constricted or hard means "crowded in or pressed in". In contrasting it to the road that leads to eternal death, He declared that this latter road is an easy road. The word that translates as easy means "spacious". There is much room to maneuver on that road. It is a receptacle for all that is man-made and corrupting. Conversely, the few who follow Jesus Christ submit to Him in passing through His narrow gate and traveling upon His hard road by keeping these leading dictates of His: they deny themselves, take up their own crosses, and walk as He walked in this life. Through Luke Jesus emphasized that all who will enter into eternal life will do these things every day of their whole lives. They will faithfully live and walk this way until their final earthbound day.
Of primary importance is the fact that Christians die to the claims and power of sin and death and live their new lives in the purposes and righteousness of God through nothing other than the cross of Jesus Christ. In a very leading way this is the pivot point of life. For Paul declared that "through the cross of Jesus Christ I am crucified to the world and the world is crucified to me." By "the world" he meant nothing other than the corrupting and overpowering ways of sin and death. The individual crosses that all believers must take up are grounded in the cross of Christ and are the crosses that every single Christian will personally carry, without exception! They function as one from and with the cross of Christ. They share from His cross the liberating truth that they are instruments of death to sin and freedom from sin.
Just like His cross was an instrument of death so also are ours. In dying upon the cross Jesus forever put an end to the claims and power of sin and death. In carrying our crosses daily in Him we die daily to the beckoning, intrusive, and demanding claims and power of sin and death that operate in the world all around us. The beauty of all of this is that the power to live this way is entirely of God and not of ourselves. God has freely given this power to His children! Again, Paul said that every believer stands in Jesus Christ because of the unfailing operation of God. He said that the same God who created light by saying "let there be light" is the one who has created the shining light of Jesus Christ in the lives of His chosen people.
Before His Spirit spoke through Paul, Jesus said, "All who my Father gives to Me come to Me" and "I shall lose not one of all those who my Father gives to Me" and "My sheep hear My voice and a stranger they will not follow" and "If anyone will come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever will preserve his life will lose it! But whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's will save it!"
Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” "Many are called, but few are chosen."