"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
When I read this verse, a profound thought came upon me: There will be some people who WANT to go to Heaven who won't be ALLOWED to enter its gates!
Often when we witness, perhaps after we have engaged in some small talk, we will lead the conversation into the spiritual realm by asking this question, "Would you like to go to Heaven some day?"
I certainly don't think that is a bad question to ask. In fact, 's a very good question to ask. But we must remember some things as we ask that question.
First, the vast majority of humanity, deep down, surely WANTS to go to Heaven when they die. This includes Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Agnostics. Even most Atheists would admit that, if there truly is a Heaven and a Hell, they would prefer to go to Heaven. When we ask this question, our purpose is not really to find out if the person wants to go to Heaven (Who doesn't?!); rather, the purpose is to get the person thinking about spiritual matters and eternity.
Second, we must remember that mere DESIRE to go to Heaven is not what God requires in order to receive His salvation. The conditions for salvation are repentance and faith--nothing more, nothing less.
Third, people don't forfeit God's gift of salvation because they don't WANT it; rather, they forfeit His salvation because they are not WILLING to come to Him on His terms.
In closing, let's be sure to do three things in consideration of this post:
1. Compel the lost to "enter in"! Without the preaching of the gospel, there is no hope! People need to hear the message of God's love and the work of Christ on Calvary!
2. Remember that the entrance gate to Heaven is a "strait gate". It's not so broad that anyone and everyone can enter in merely because they WANT to. There are some who will be "able" and others who will not. God's salvation is indeed offered to anyone and everyone--but those who WANT it must be WILLING to receive it on His terms.
3. Help those who are wanting and willing to understand HOW they can be "able"! Throughout the New Testament there are two conditions upon which Christ and His salvation can be received: repentance and faith. If a person will turn with His heart unto the Lord Jesus Christ, believing in who He is and what He has done, that person will be instantaneously and eternally saved!
So...do you WANT to go to Heaven? If so, you must come to Christ on His terms.
What a tragedy it would be for a man, who WANTED to go to Heaven, but was refused entrance because he was never WILLING to turn to Christ?!
Equally tragic would be a man who WANTED to go to Heaven, but was refused entrance because no one ever told him HOW to receive the gift of salvation!
We have a great privilege and responsibility to share the good news of salvation to a hurting and hopeless world! Lets be faithful and steadfast in shining the light!