The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
What happens to those who fail to follow Jesus through the valley of the shadow of death? What about those who try to find another path to God? Will they make it to heaven? Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about eternity.
First, Jesus taught that two eternal destinations exist. Universalists claim that all roads lead to the same place, that everyone’s going to heaven regardless of what he or she believes or doesn’t believe. But Jesus drove a stake through that claim when He said in Matthew 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Jesus taught there are two destinations: eternal punishment and eternal life.
Second, Jesus taught that hell is a reality. Of all the verses in the New Testament that record the words of Jesus, do you realize that 13 percent of those verses deal with the reality of hell? For example, Jesus believed that hell is an actual location, not a state of mind (Matthew 25:46). Jesus taught in Matthew 22:13 that hell is a place of physical suffering. And most devastatingly, Jesus said that hell is an irrevocable destination. Once there, no one leaves. In Luke 16, Jesus told the story about Abraham, the rich man, and Lazarus. The rich man found himself in hell and begged Abraham to provide relief and a way out. Abraham answered and said, “Between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us” (v. 26).
Third, Jesus taught that the majority of humanity will occupy hell. The single greatest objection to the idea that faith in Christ is the only way to heaven is it means relatively few people will be in heaven. There are seven billion people in the world today. Only 25 percent of the world’s population can be classified as Christian, and most of those only because of their birth or nationality; when you talk about those who’ve actually trusted in Christ, it’s minuscule compared to the world’s population. People say, “It just can’t be true that billions of people will be in hell while only a few will be in heaven.” That seems illogical until you realize that’s exactly what Jesus taught. He said the population of heaven will be relatively small compared to the population of hell. In Matthew 7:13-14, He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” I realize you may find this teaching offensive, but please consider this: the majority of everything we know about hell comes from the lips of Jesus Christ Himself. To dismiss the idea of hell means you have to dismiss Jesus Christ and what He taught about eternity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Intolerant Christ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.