My New Year’s Resolution: “Keep Striving!”
Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).
“Strive” is from the Greek word “ahg-oh-nidz-oh-my.” It is from this word that we get our English word “agony / agonize.” The same word describes the fervency with which Jesus prayed in the garden that resulted His sweat dropping to the ground as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The Greeks also used this word to describe the energy needed for a wrestler to hold his opponent to the mat for the three-count. The Greek / English Lexicon says this word means: “strain every nerve.”
According to Jesus, no accountable human being will accidentally go to Heaven. There is a deliberate effort (called “striving”), to be put forth on the part of each soul that will be saved.
Next, Jesus warns of those who will “seek” to enter into Heaven, but will not be able to do so. The Lexicon defines the word “seek” as: “to investigate, to examine, consider, or to deliberate.
Jesus is saying that many will investigate going to Heaven, they will examine, consider, deliberate, desire and even wish to go there, but will not be able. Why? Because they did not “strive” to enter in. Perhaps after their inquiry they decided the gate was too narrow. Or, they just figured that everyone would be saved and all they needed was to sit back and wait.
Matthew 25:31-46 teaches there will be many surprises on Judgment Day. Many religious people will be surprised to discover that it took more than wearing a wwjd bracelet, or a cross around their neck, or periodically going to church.
As we close out this year, it is good that we “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith” (2Corinthians 13:5). Are we striving in the narrow way, or walking with the majority in the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). — Toby Miller
Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.
Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Proper baptism in water puts a person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) and results in the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).