Daily Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:17


2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.


Thoughts to Ponder from Luke 13:22-30


Luke 13:22-30 (ESV)

The Narrow Door

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 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.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 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. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” (Luke 3:23)

These are perhaps the scariest words in Scripture. Embedded within this fellow’s question is the fear that many will not be saved – will end up in hell. Now hell is a miserable, lonely place devoid of all love. So how should we think about these words? Are we to walk around in fear, constantly worrying if we are among the many or the few?

No. In his answer, Jesus shifts the focus from a general question to a specific one. He is not interested in addressing this man’s curiosity or in giving population statistics of heaven and hell. Instead he says that every person should do everything possible to make sure he or she is among the “saved.” Then he tells how: “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Yes, we are saved by faith. But our faith must be backed up by our actions. We still have to strive to enter heaven.

Striving is not wishful thinking. It’s not a vague hope. It’s not something we take care of in our spare time. No, striving to enter heaven should be the top priority of our lives. It’s what we “seek first” above everything else (Matthew 6:33).

Striving has to do with contending, putting forth a great effort, even pushing through some agonizing moments. A person who strives protects every time of prayer and personal devotion, stays focused on Jesus during every worship, and does everything possible to care for the poor and needy. She or he has one goal in mind: to win the prize of heaven. Nothing takes precedence over that goal.

Jesus also told his followers that heaven is not a forgone conclusion. He says, in fact, that some people will be surprised to find that they don’t sail right through the pearly gates (Luke 13:25-27). But he does promise that everyone who believes in him will find the way. And those are hopeful words indeed.

Jesus, I want to be with you forever. Please keep me on the pathway to salvation. Amen.