It’s important to note that “God our Savior… desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:3-6, ESV). Since God desires all to be saved, He has provided the way – the one way – for all to be saved. Jesus has given Himself as a ransom for all on the cross. All who believe in Him will be saved. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18, ESV).
I understand your math. I agree that there are many people who profess Christ without possessing Christ. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:21-23, ESV). So, the numbers of people who have experienced true conversion might be less than we would like to think.
But I think it’s good for us to let God do the math on who’s in and who’s out and how many are in and how many are out. It’s safe to say, though, based on Jesus’ words, that many more will be lost than saved. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV).
There are some basic truths that motivate me.
People without Christ are lost (II Thessalonians 1:5-9).
Only Jesus saves (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, I Timothy 2:5).
There is a real heaven and a real hell and real people like you and me go to one or the other.
Therefore, let’s go to heaven and take as many people with us as we can (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
These are the reasons Maryanne and I left our families behind to plant a church here in NE Ohio. These are reasons why we are now trying to leverage our influence as a church to motivate CVCers to see themselves as missionaries, to plant other churches, and to send and support missionaries to help fulfill the Great Commission. It’s what gets me up and keeps me going.
Preaching from John 14:6 has helped me recommit to the task of seeking to populate heaven with worshippers of Jesus. I’m praying for greater fruitfulness and faithfulness for me.
Now, may I ask a question of you? If Jesus is your savior, what will you do to leverage all your resources to get the word of Christ out to those who have never heard?
Thanks again for your question.