We live in an automatic age.
Some garage doors are automatic. Cars have windows and door locks that open automatically. It is possible to have merchandise automatically purchased and sent. While the microwave has not made cooking obsolete, it has certainly made it almost automatic.
Some people think salvation is just like everything else in our automatic age. Once a person believes in Jesus, they say, salvation is automatic.
Jesus never taught that. Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24 NASB).
The key here is the word, “strive.” It is in the present tense, which in the language of the New Testament means continuous action. The force of the verb is, “keep on striving to enter through the narrow door.”
Jesus didn’t use words by accident. God the Son measured his words very carefully. He meant exactly what he said. Salvation is not an automatic response from God to belief. It is a continuous struggle.
There is another key to this verse. It lies within the word, “strive.” The word is from the English word, “agony.” Salvation is a process that involves agony of soul and spirit.
The danger many people run into is that they think that once they have made a commitment to Jesus, that’s all they need to do. Such is a misunderstanding of what Jesus said.
Johnson Oatman wrote the lyrics for 5,000 gospel songs and hymns. Perhaps, he is best known for the hymn entitled, “Higher Ground.” The last verse tells us,
“I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heaven I’ve found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Salvation is a climb. It is not attained automatically, and it is not kept automatically. If you truly want to be saved, then you must understand the necessity of obeying God’s word and keep on obeying it every day.
Salvation means striving upward.