The question of who will be saved has occupied the thoughts of many throughout the ages. There are some people today who believe that everyone who has ever lived will be saved. There are some today who believe that a majority of people who have lived on the earth will be saved. There is, however, in contrast to these teachings, what Jesus said about the subject. In Matthew 7:13, 14 we read, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Jesus clearly states that the majority of people who live upon the earth will be lost. He said that there would be “few” that find the way that leads to life. Who will be saved? Who will be lost? The Bible gives us the answer to both questions.
First, the Bible teaches that no one who is separated from God by sin will be saved. Every single person conceived by man who has ever lived upon the face of the earth has sinned. In Romans 3:23 we read, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Sin is doing things in our life that are against God and are against His will. In essence when we are sinning, we are saying to God, “I don’t want to be like you.” So God in His infinite justice allows us to make that choice. He allows us to choose not to be like Him, but he also warns us concerning the consequences of not being like Him. He says in Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” It is not God’s fault that we are lost; it is our fault. It is because we have chosen for sin to be in our life. When we sin against God, we separate ourselves from God and when we allow that separation to exist throughout our whole life, we earn eternal separation from God. This is also known as spiritual death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” And death is where we will be eternally if we do not do something about the sin that is in our life. Those who choose to harbor sin in their lives, for their whole lives, will not be saved.
No one who fails to know God will be saved. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9 we read of God’s vengeance. The text says, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Notice that there are two categories of people who will not be saved. The first are those who “know not God.” In order for one to know God, one must come to a knowledge of Jesus. In John 1:18 we read, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jesus has declared who God is to us today. Today, no one can come to a knowledge of God except through Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) This means that no one will be able to enter heaven except those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Those who choose to remain ignorant about God will not be saved.
No one who fails to obey the gospel will be saved. The same passage that we looked at in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9 shows another category of people who will not be saved. These are those who fail to “obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Hebrews 5:9 we read, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Jesus saves those who render their allegiance and their obedience to Him. This means that we have to know what the gospel says and that we must obey it without reservation. To start walking in a right relationship with God, one must hear the word of God (Romans 10:17), believe it (John 3:16), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as the Christ (Romans 10:10) and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). This is God’s plan for man’s salvation. We must be obedient to it if we want to be saved. Moreover, we have no right to alter or change in any way God’s plan for man’s salvation. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8, 9 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Those who choose not to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether they choose not to become a Christian or whether they choose not to remain a faithful Christian, will not be saved.
Notice from these three things who WILL be saved. The saved are those who have turned away from their sins, come to know about God and His Son Jesus, and have obeyed the gospel in becoming a Christian and in remaining faithful to God. These are the ones who will be saved. If you, dear reader, need to become a Christian today, contact someone within the church of Christ who can help you do that. If you are saved but haven’t been living faithfully, then get yourself back in a right relationship with God. The message of salvation is the same for all men. It does not change from year to year, from country to country, or from person to person. If anyone is going to be saved they must obey the same gospel that was preached and taught by Jesus and His apostles some 2000 years ago. When that message is taught, God is glorified and souls are saved. There is no other way for anyone to be saved.