“But, it may be asked, do not the verses, ‘Narrow is the gate, and straightened the way, that leadeth to life, and few are they that find it,’ and ‘Many are called, but few chosen’ (Matt, 7:14; 22:14), teach that many more are lost than saved? We believe that these verses are meant to be understood in a temporal sense, as describing the conditions which Jesus and the disciples saw existing in Palestine in their day. The great majority of the people about them were not walking in the way of righteousness, and the words were spoken from the standpoint of the moment rather than from the standpoint of the distant Judgment Day. In these words we have presented to us a picture that was true to life as they saw it about them, and which in general has been true even up to the present time. But we may ask, in view of the future prosperity promised to the Church, are we not entitled to believe that as the years and the centuries and ages flow on the proportion following ‘the two ways’ shall be reversed?
These verses are also designed to teach that the way of salvation is a way of difficulty and sacrifice, and that it is our duty to address ourselves to it with diligence and persistence. No one is to take his salvation for granted. Those who enter into the kingdom of heaven do so through many tribulations; hence the command. ‘Strive to enter in by the narrow door’ (Luke 13:24). The choice in life is represented as a choice between two roads, –one is broad, smooth, and easy to travel, but leads to destruction. The other is narrow and difficult, but leads to life. ‘There is no more reason,’ says Dr. Warfield, ‘to assume that this similitude teaches that the saved shall be fewer than the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1ff) teaches that they shall be precisely equal in number; and there is far less reason to suppose that this similitude teaches that the saved shall be few comparatively to the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the Tares in the Wheat (Matt. 13:2lff) teaches that the lost shall be inconsiderable in number in comparison with the saved-for that, indeed, is an important part of the teaching of that parable’ (Article, Are They Few That Be Saved?). And we may add that there is no more reason to suppose that this reference to the two ways teaches that the number of the saved shall be fewer than the number of the lost than there is to suppose that the parable of the Lost Sheep teaches that only one out of a hundred goes astray and that even that one eventually will be brought back-which indeed would be absolute restorationism.”
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