Strive to enter

Rock City, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, has a winding trail around (or through) many limestone outcroppings. One of those is “Fat Man’s Squeeze.”

In the past, when I weighed much more than now, I’ve had my troubles getting through the squeeze. While it might be possible for a severely overweight person to get through the narrow corridor of rock, it would not be comfortable.

There are many people who think salvation is as easy as going to the grocery store for a dozen eggs. “Have you got saved?” they ask. It’s almost as if “getting saved” is as easy as getting something to eat at a fast-food place. Jesus Christ never described it that way.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” Jesus said, “for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). So much for express-line salvation. Entry into the kingdom of heaven is not automatic. “Strive,” is a word in the original New Testament that gave us the English word, “agony.” Salvation is an agonizing life-long process.

In addition, there are those who will want to be saved from sin, but are not willing to make the necessary commitment to Jesus. Contrary to those who teach all one has to do is “believe,” the Christian life is one where a person may fail. Obedience to the gospel and life-long faithfulness is the only way to heaven. The apostle Paul wrote of those who had “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). The entire book of Hebrews is centered around the possibility of apostasy (Hebrews 2:1-3).

The parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18ff says there will be people who hear the word of God, but they will never make it past the persecution, tribulation or the cares of this world. Only the one who hears the word of God, understands it and produces fruit from the good works he or she does will succeed.

Climbing Mt. Everest is a daunting challenge. Many have tried to make it to the summit and died. Only a few reach the pinnacle. Christianity is not “fast food.” The term “get saved” is not in the Bible because making the attempt at living faithfully means obeying God’s word and remaining true all one’s life (Revelation 2:10).

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