Make Every Effort
Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because MANY, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:23, 24)
Sadly, even though Luke 13:24 is one of the Lord's salvation teachings, very few know anything about it. The Lord taught there we are to make a continuous tense agonizing effort to enter God's kingdom. That is the salvation security Jesus taught. Elsewhere he taught difficult or hard is the road that leads to life, Mt. 7:14 (NKJV, NRSV).This Secret About Staying Pure Is Vital
The reason the many in Luke 13:24 will try to enter and still not get in is because they aren't making enough effort, as Jesus called it. Imagine that! To many in our day, this dissimilar teaching must sound like pure cultic heresy, but it is Jesus' teaching! We are to make an all out effort and never stop till we enter God's kingdom. Anything less could place us in with the many who try to enter God's kingdom to some degree but don't. The “many” of Luke 13:24 who don't enter know:
● there is a narrow door which must be entered through for salvation,
● God exists,
● the Scriptures are TRUE, but ...... they will still miss it! Imagine that.
Once saved always saved is the chief reason in our day why multitudes, who believe the Bible, will miss heaven. One of the reasons is because they are not putting forth enough effort. They are resting in a salvation security which does not exist. How can I be so dogmatic?
According to the once saved always saved version of grace, the gospel, seal of the Holy Spirit, keeping power of God, etc. there is and can not be any type of salvation maintenance (or effort) since (according to their doctrine) salvation cannot be lost. That is how they present salvation security as they simultaneously deny spiritual death for the righteous. Hence, OSAS teachers not only ignore Jesus' teaching in Luke 13:24, they actually teach against that vital salvation truth by declaring the exact opposite. Please note what they have been teaching:
● J. VERNON McGEE said:
“He [God] never lets go. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your salvation”
● CHARLES STANLEY declares:
“How do you stay saved. What do you do to stay saved? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!”
● JOHN MacARTHUR teaches:
“The believer does nothing to secure his or her salvation. According to His own purpose, God secures it for us.”
[Documentation for those quotes is found in The Believer's Conditional Security: Eternal Security Refuted.]
Relax and do nothing to enter the narrow door is their message. According to Jesus in Luke 13:24, that will damn you. That is clear disobedience to Jesus' directives, yet is openly and boldly proclaimed and widely believed. All of that is definite spiritual poison, but there is also another related latent danger in the doctrine of eternal security:
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! (1 Cor 10:12)
Just having the OSAS mind set will have you thinking you are standing so firm that God himself can't keep you out of heaven once you get saved. (Such was taught by Robert Thieme! Listen to the once saved always saved grace changers for yourself as they distort the real gospel.) In clear contrast to absolute salvation security as they declare, Paul the real grace teacher also taught:
You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Rom 11:19-23)
As powerful as that was, this next passage might be even more destructive to eternal security:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:7-9)
Gal. 6:7-9 is a salvation passage not a rewards passage. The Greek word for give up means relax! In other words, what God tells us not to do is the exact message of the eternal security teachers! God's word says do not relax. The eternal security teachers are trying to convince us to relax! Imagine that. This is more proof that Calvinism is of the devil. If that is not enough, then consider this passage:
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Heb 6:10-12)
A definition of the word lazy is do-nothing, which is exactly what the eternal security teachers (Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Bruce Wilkinson, Ray Comfort, etc.) are dangerously teaching us about salvation security! That makes the eternal security teachers very dangerous.
Remember also it was the servant with one talent who did nothing and consequently gained nothing who heard his master say to him:
“You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 25:26-30)
Again, such is clearly related to salvation security. Doing nothing was his spiritual downfall and landed him in hell. We also have Luke 9:62:
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (KJV)
The imagery is clear. We are to work as one ploughing in a field. It is impossible to rightly connect such work in a field to relaxing and doing nothing, as the grace changers want us to believe.
These safeguards must be included in the effort needed to enter the narrow door.
All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. (John 16:1)
But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. (Mark 4:17)
The word translated go astray in John 16:1 is the same Greek word fall away found in Mark 4:17. (Fall away is what happens to real Christians—not non-Christians.) We can also be sure of this because Jesus spoke those words to his own disciples. The safeguards to know about were: (1) you will be persecuted and (2) you must testify.
Spiritual safeguards are all through the New Testament. They include truths like: Avoid every kind of evil (1 Thess. 5:22) which includes avoiding certain people, places and things. That includes divisive people, which is what false teachers are (Rom. 16:17,18).
... do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Tim 5:22) cf. Acts 15:9.
Besides that, Christians are also told the following about salvation security and salvation maintenance:
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)
Certainly the effort we must put forth to enter through the narrow door also includes—
Eternal security teachers, again, teach the exact opposite of God's vital truth by teaching against holding on:
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Heb 3:14)
But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (Heb 3:6)
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Cor 15:2)
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Rev 3:11)
[Comment: It is clearly possible to lose what you have spiritually.]
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
Besides Luke 13:24 there are other passages which declare Christians are to make every effort:
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Pet 3:13,14)
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14)
Please ponder the similarities between Mt. 5:8 and Heb. 12:14.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 1:5-11)
Christians are likewise told the following, which also reflects the intensity of our warfare:
● Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph 6:11-13)
If you do nothing you will be overcome by the forces of darkness. This is just one of the dangers of eternal security.
Christians are clearly in a spiritual fight to enter God's kingdom:
● Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:18-20)
● Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:14-18)
● I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. (Acts 24:15,16)
● Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Pet 5:8,9)
● Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9)
● You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Christians can wander away, fall away, turn away, etc. Hence, we are often given hell warnings, warnings about the lethal power of sin, false teachers, false prophets, a false gospel, persecution, the cares and pleasures of this life, etc.
Hold on to what you have! For the OSAS teachers to say there is nothing to hold on to (as Charles Stanley says) might suggest they don't have anything from God, including real salvation!
We are also commanded to fight. To fight one must not relax but exert effort, the opposite of what we are being taught:
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor 9:26, 27)
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Cor 10:4)
Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, (1 Tim 1:18)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7)
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Phil 2:12)
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Rom 2:7)
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Rom 6:22)
So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Heb 12:4) True salvation security exists only for the few who are living holy now. Now you know the answer to what is salvation to a much better degree. Don't be deceived by the popular but mythical so-called salvation security of once saved always saved!
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