93. Will Few or Many Be Saved?
22He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.a
23And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few or many?”
13And Jesus said to them, “Enter by the narrow gate;b for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14Straight is the gate and narrow is the way, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
25“When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.' 26Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' 27But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'c 28There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. 29And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.”
(Lk. 13:22–23; Mt. 7:13–14; Lk. 13:25–30)
a “He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.”—Jesus crossed over into Perea when the authorities sought to arrest him at the feast of the dedication. (See Ch. 85.) Since he is moving toward Jerusalem he probably began this last preaching mission in northern Perea and gradually moved south. (See map on page 16.)
b “And Jesus said to them, 'Enter by the narrow gate'”—Here Jesus teaches that, although the way leading to life is “straight and narrow” and the way to destruction is “broad and wide,” still, salvation is first a matter of personal choice. Thus, whether few or many are saved is ever dependent upon how many choose to “enter by the narrow gate” and fight the good fight of faith.
c “iniquity”—in•iq•ui•ty n. [from the Latin iniquus, uneven, unjust] 1: absence of or deviation from just dealing: gross injustice: WICKEDNESS (the iniquity of bribery). (Webster's Unabridged)
We may distinguish three levels of failure to achieve the doing of God's will. Evil is an unconscious or unintended breach of the Father's will; sin is a conscious and deliberate violation of God's will; and iniquity is a willful, repeated, and persistent transgression of the divine will. Evil is the measure of our imperfection in obeying God's will; sin is the measure of our unwillingness to be spiritually guided; and iniquity is the measure of our continued rejection of the Father's way of salvation.
Lk. 13:23 few or many? / few? (RSV)
Mt. 7:13 And Jesus said to them, “Enter (Lk. 13:24) / “Enter (RSV)
Mt. 7:14 Straight is the gate and narrow is the way, that (KJV) / For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that (RSV)
Lk. 13:30 some who are last will / some are last who will (RSV) • some who are first will / some are first who will (RSV) (166:3/1828–9)