Well, first of all we can be sure that not EVERYONE is going to heaven because a lot of people don’t want to.
So, the real question is, “will all the REST be going to heaven?”
I think, again, the answer is “no” because Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:23)
So, this clearly shows that there will be “MANY” (did you catch that word?) who thought they would be entering heaven who will NOT be. Why not? Because they weren’t doing the will of the Father! Because they were LAWLESS! They were busy about “religion” but they weren’t truly connected through Jesus to true obedience. These are all the hypocrites. (Maybe you know some–but don’t judge). Referring to hypocrites, Jesus also said,
“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” (Matthew 15:7-9)
Hypocrites do not obey the Father’s will, they obey their own will and put a religious spin on it. They “talk the talk”, but they don’t “walk the walk”. I wrote a post yesterday called, “How Can ANYONE Believe This?” It is all about the subtle deception of the hypocrite and, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll read that post as well. Hypocrites probably appear to be the most holy, but it will be a surprising day when they (or we) are not allowed entrance into the kingdom of heaven!
So, now the biggest question of all… “How many hypocrites are there?” I’m not here to judge because I confess I could possibly be one of them. I’m trying to look at this question as honestly as possible because I do want to go to heaven and not deceive myself.
I believe we really need to be careful because I think there may be A LOT more hypocrites than we may have imagined. I believe that many who do not think they are hypocrites ARE, IN FACT, hypocrites. Could YOU be a hypocrite? (If that question offends you, you might be).
In the story of “The Rich Young Ruler”, Jesus is approached by one of “the best of the best”. This religious zealot claimed to keep ALL the commandments from the time of his youth and up to that day. He felt his entrance to the kingdom was sure. But, Jesus told him he was not going to enter the kingdom because he had not given up EVERYTHING yet. Jesus followed it up with the following: “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23, 24)
The disciples who heard this were ASTONISHED. They could not believe that this young ruler’s salvation was not secure. Apparently, he must have appeared pretty holy. Maybe he even had a reputation of being extremely dedicated. They were so perplexed that this great man wasn’t entitled to a spot in heaven that it caused them to ask, “Then who can be saved?” (v. 25) They thought if ANYONE was going to be saved, surely it was this young ruler who seemed to have it all together. If he wasn’t safe, then was anyone?!
Jesus answers, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (v. 26)
Again, the answer is the same… Man MUST be entirely REMOVED from the equation to be saved. Hypocrisy is all about trying to be religious, but still holding on to your own preferences, beliefs, attitudes, etc. Hypocrisy is when there is not entire surrender of EVERYTHING to God.
The unfortunate truth that the Bible teaches is that very, very few will surrender entirely to God. Most, even though professing to, will not make that surrender. It seems to me that the Bible teaches that VERY FEW are going to go to heaven.
Jesus said something else in Matthew 7 that seems in harmony with this conclusion. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Again, Jesus used the word “many” to refer to those who will ultimately be lost. And the word He uses for those who will go to heaven is “few”. That word “few” means the great minority. When’s the last time you heard this at church? Every church I’ve ever attended makes it seem like everyone in the building is doing just fine. They also extend that vote of confidence to the entire denomination usually. Oh, maybe there’s a few stragglers in the denomination, but most of us are on our way!
I don’t think so! Again, I don’t want to judge, but I also don’t want to be deceived. I want to believe what Jesus said, instead, even though it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to be rocked into a false sense of security by the preachers.
I think if we want to go to heaven, we’re going to have to be pretty serious about it. And I think it is going to require a very dedicated effort toward full surrender of EVERYTHING to Jesus. It’s going to require complete dependence on the power and leading of God in our lives. Nothing less than this will do. That’s what Jesus said. Will we be willing to do that is the question…