Jesus’ teaching in Luke 13 is difficult for me.
And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ (Luke 13:23-25)
I’ve always been uncomfortable that there will be people left out of the Kingdom. Did God not choose them or did they not choose God? It’s one of the great mysteries of the faith…
There is a great tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. How can God be 100% sovereign AND man be 100% responsible for his choices? Herein lies the mystery.
1 Samuel 10 makes it very clear that God was sovereign over Saul and chose him to be king of Israel. Saul had nothing in himself to qualify him for king except God’s grace and anointing. But Saul failed to live a life worthy of his calling. Later, God removed the kingship from Saul because of his disobedience and failure to repent. Ultimately, Saul was held accountable for his decisions.
Did God make a mistake by choosing Saul? Absolutely not! Then why did God choose Saul when He knew that Saul would disobey?? When I can’t untangle the mysteries of God, I look to God’s character for insight… Who is God? He is Sovereign over all, All-Powerful and the final Judge of all mankind. But what else is God? He is compassionate and kind. He is Good.
Listen to the compassion in Jesus’ words…
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Luke 13:34)
He is sovereign AND we are given the freedom to choose. Somehow, God uses our sinful choices to bring about the good of his big plan. God uses Saul’s disobedience and pride to mold David into a godly leader. And God uses Israel’s rejection to open the door for Gentiles to enter His Kingdom.
When all is revealed at the end of the age – we will see that all things were weaved together for GOOD!