The Lord tells us that very few people will choose to enter His strait (difficult) gate and walk His narrow (restricted) path that leads to His eternal kingdom. For those few who choose to “walk as He (Jesus) walked” (1 Jn. 2:6) He has promised an unimaginable reward. At this point in history we cannot phantom what lies ahead. Through the Apostle Paul God tells us that at this time we “see through a glass darkly” and “know only in part” (1 Cor. 13:12), meaning that we can only imagine what lies ahead for those whose only agenda in this life is to love God and to prove that love by obeying the Words which He speaks through His prophets and apostles, Words He calls “commandments” (Jn. 14:15,23/Mat. 19:17). In these passages Jesus was speaking to His disciples, telling them that the only way for them to receive salvation was to “… keep My commandments” and “… keep My Words.” Bear in mind the caliber of men to whom He was speaking. He was addressing men who had left everything–all earthly possessions and relationships–in order to follow Him. These were men who had been with Him constantly for nearly three years, men to whom He would entrust the spreading of His gospel throughout the civilized world, men who, with one exception, would give their lives for doing so. The lone survivor would spend much of his life in prison for preaching that gospel. Surely giving one’s life would qualify a believer for eternal life. No. One more rule, a command that surpassed all others, had to be obeyed. These men had to prove their love for Him by obeying His Words/commandments/Law. One of them would fail to do so and have to be replaced.
So what about His modern followers, both ministers and lay people? Does the unchangeable God (Mal. 3:6) have different salvation requirements for today’s disciples? Over the past 2000 years tens of billions of church people have responded with a resounding “Yes, He does have different rules for the modern church.” I recently heard a “Bible scholar” declare that the apostles, specifically Paul, had brought forth a better set of salvation requirements. Their new and improved version of the gospel replaced the Old Testament. According to him, the New Testament rendered it null and void. Today some two billion church people agree with him. They “know” that the Almighty nailed His commandments to the cross, thereby destroying them. They “know” this in spite of Jesus saying, “I have not come to destroy the Law and the (writings of ) the prophets, but to fulfill (them)” (Mat. 5:17). In Isaiah 42:21 the prophet tells us that the Messiah would come to earth “to magnify the Law and make it honorable.” According to Law-nailers, to fulfill, magnify and honor the Law means to nail it to the cross–to destroy it. Such people reject God’s Words, which Jesus called “Truth” (Jn. 17:17) and embrace Satan’s “truths,” otherwise known as “church doctrines,” which God calls “doctrines of devils” which are put forth by Satan’s false prophets under the influence of “seducing spirits” (1 Tim. 4:1). Religious peoples’ choice of “truths” separates them into two groups: sheep and goats (Mat. 25:31-14,41). Sheep, we are told in the Holy Scriptures, obey God. Goats, we are told, do not.
The Very Elect are those who refuse to go with the religious flow which carries church people away from the Biblical God and toward the god of self. Adam and Eve set the standard for all those who would rebel against the Word of God. The Lord’s saints are those who, in accordance to His command, prove their love for Him by obeying His Words/commandments/Law. It is they who will become caretakers of His universe following His Son’s return to earth. The fact that God’s saints will one day hold sway over the totality of His creation is alien to all but a minutely few. Those few, knowing that all spiritual Truth is found in the Holy Bible, demand proof from that Bible. Let us go there in search of such Truth which God has promised to all who truly believe Him: “IF you (believers) continue (believing and obeying) My Word, THEN you will be My disciples indeed, and you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free (of error–doctrines of devils)” (Jn. 8:30-48). L.J.