“A Few Good Men”
“Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:23-24).’”
Recent studies by the Pew Research Center (PRC) have grabbed the attention of many as they project that by the year 2050, Christianity will be overtaken by Islam as the world’s predominant religion. According to PRC, as of 2010 approximately 2.2 billion were considered Christian adherents while Islam claimed 1.6 billion. However, in the next 40 years the projection is that Christianity will see more than a 60 million net loss while Islam is projected to grow by more than 3 million in that span.1
To many in Christendom this report is troubling but there are differences in the reasons for alarm. For some the concern comes from the clear implication that these declines indicate that Christians may not be faithful in carrying out the great commission to carry the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). Such a conclusion may well be true but remember our job is to sow the seed and God provides the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7). Jeremiah and Noah did this with great energy and did not reap a harvest.
Others have concern because Islam appears to be overtaking Christianity in the affections most of the world’s population. But the truth is that real New Testament Christianity is not the dominant religion in the world today. For the Bible student this does not come as a shock or with great alarm.
Jesus repeatedly affirmed that those who will be saved are “few” compared to the “many” who will not be saved. He said, “For many are called, but FEW are chosen (Matthew 22:14).” He taught that only a FEW would find life but there would be MANY who would enter into destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). When Jesus came to Nazareth there were only a FEW whom He healed because of the unbelief He encountered (Mark 6:1-6).
Even in the Old Testament the contrast of the FEW vs. the MANY was prevalent throughout nearly all generations. At one point there were only eight who were among the saved and the entire world were the MANY destroyed (1 Peter 3:20).
Faithful Christians understand this and should not become discouraged by being outnumbered in this world. Elijah fretted that he was the last righteous man on earth (1 Kings 19:8). But the LORD comforted him with assurances that he was not alone as there were also 7,000 who had not yielded to the predominant false religion of that day but had remained faithful to their covenant with God (v.18). Pew projects 2 billion Christians today. That number is certainly not accurate, but the Lord knows those who are His and it includes only those who have departed from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). We have been called out of the world and therefore we do not follow the crowd. Let us then be faithful in sharing the gospel so that by all means we might save SOME (1 Corinthians 9:22).
Friend if you have not obeyed the gospel you are in danger of going with the many into destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). God’s desire is for all men, including yourself, is to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16). Christians take heart and know that your names are written in the Book of Life and that while we are but few here, we will one day join that great multitude.
“In that day the LORD of hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people (Isaiah 28:5).”