(Article for publication week of 7-4- AD 2013)
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).
For the past several weeks we have been considering true Biblical conversion from our Lord’s metaphor of a “strait”, that is a difficult gate in Matthew 7:13-14. We have shown that true Biblical conversion is necessary, urgent, difficult and rare. Today we turn to a parallel text in Luke 13:24 where the same truth is again illustrated by this strait gate. Though true conversion be difficult, our Lord urges us to strive to enter in.
The very first thing I show you from this text is that it is utter insanity for a man to be unconcerned and careless about the eternal state of his soul. There are some of you who are so wrapped up in yourself and worldly pleasure that you never give a thought to where you will spend eternity. Unless you start striving to be converted you are going to die and go to hell. You may be cut down before this day is over and face God. All your worldly pleasure will end and you will be in the flames of hell forever with no hope of ever getting out.
And I know of some who have heard just enough of the gospel of sovereign grace to endanger themselves. Like my Daddy told me one time when I was trying to do a wiring project with no electrical training. Daddy told me, “Son you know just enough to get killed”! I took his advice and quit meddling with things to complicated for me. So there are some who are “jackleg” theologians who think they know something about the Bible and go on to hell with a little knowledge. Like fooling with electricity, some of you know just enough about the scriptures to be a “know -it- all” and go on to hell. There are some of you who know about the doctrine of election, but yet have never entered into salvation by the gate of conversion. I want to say unto you the scriptures nowhere tell us to just “hope” we might be one of the elect. No! Our text says to strive to enter into salvation. II Peter 1:10 command us to make our calling and election sure. Be sure the Bible does teach the doctrine of election, but the only way you may know you are elect is by entering into the narrow way by the strait gate.
Then, there are quite a few of you who vainly imagine you are saved because you made a little decision, so-called. You “decided for Christ”, or “accepted Christ”. The Bible nowhere uses that kind of terminology for conversion. You know nothing of Holy Ghost conviction. You have never been granted repentance. You have never been stripped of your self- righteousness. You have never been humbled by the Lord teaching you what a wretch you are. You are still full of arrogance, pride and self-esteem. You walked an aisle perhaps, and gave the preacher your hand, but you have never been born again. You have a false assurance and have never been truly converted. There was no striving in your experience, because you thought getting saved was easy.
Now, I want you to notice with me that the Greek word translated “strive” in our text is the word from which we get our English word “agony”, or in its verb form, “agonise.” You see true conversion is always accompanied by agony of soul. As the awakened sinner strives to enter into salvation, he is brought into great distress and agony of soul, so that he is made to cry, “Oh! Wretched man that I am!” You see, a man has to get lost before he can be saved. Lost sinners are the only kind of people God saves. May the Holy Spirit show you your lost condition and draw you to the Saviour of sinners.