Luke 13:22-28 (NIV)
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to
Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to
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
Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you
will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in
our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away
from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God,
but you yourselves thrown out.
When Jesus was asked how many people will be saved, Jesus did not reply directly that only a few will be saved. Jesus simply replied that many will try to enter but will fail, thereby answering indirectly that only a few people will be saved.
If we read the entire passage, we can understand that Jesus was speaking about the Jews specifically. The Jews at that time were trying very hard to enter the kingdom of God but their efforts were only outward and no effect internally. The people emphasizes more on rules and regulations rather than loving God and loving others.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You
clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of
greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside
of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
(Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)
The people were trying very hard to remain ceremonially clean and to fulfill their religious duties. They paid offerings and tithes faithfully, they observed the Sabbath day strictly. They were perfect outwardly but sinful inwardly. They hearts were filled with hatred and greed.
The same situation is going on today among many Christians. We try to attain salvation by our own deeds and we try to enter heaven by our own works. In contrast, salvation is a free gift from God and there nothing we can do about it. All we have to do you receive it with faith, let our old self die and put on the new self.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off
your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to
be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians
Unless we are changed internally, put off our old nature and live a new live, we can never enter the kingdom of God. We need to born again spiritually. We need a transformation in our life. It's not about paying tithe or going to church every Sunday. Your piety alone cannot save you. Your hard work alone cannot save you. If you are only trying to be saved, you are like those who try but fail. God doesn't care about how much you try to make him happy but instead, God wants you to strife hard to change yourself.