Most people when asked if they believe in an ‘after life’ will say they do. According to the Bible they are correct because there is no such thing as cessation of being for any human after physical death.
“…for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His (Christ’s) voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28-29
This verse once again defines the two categories of mankind, i.e. good and evil. Good means to accept God’s provision for redemption while evil means to ignore or reject it. Therefore, all will exist forever; some in the presence of God and the others outside His presence. The vast majority of people when asked where they are going to spend eternity say they believe they will spend eternity in Heaven. When asked why they so believe, the typical response is that they have done many commendable deeds that warrant eternity in Heaven. There are other religions who believe likewise that if one’s good deeds outweigh the bad the reward is Heaven. They believe God is objective, compassionate, and ‘reasonable’.
God’s immutable attribute is His holiness and justness, for all will taste of His justice but not all will partake of His mercy. The choice of one’s eternal destiny, however, has been given to each human and that choice is totally compatible with God’s election.
The Bible is explicitly clear on the issue and reveals an ‘unpopular truth’.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Notice the pairs of opposites in the above verse, i.e. narrow vs. wide, few vs. many, and destruction vs. life. Destruction in this context means perish while life means life eternal. Perish in the present context means eternal death and is from the Greek apollumi and also found in John 3:16.
The Apostle Luke also addressed this significant issue.
“Then one said to Him (Jesus), ‘Lord, are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you will seek to enter and will not be able…’” Luke 13:23-24
Strive in this context does not mean to perform in order to earn entrance through the narrow gate; rather it means to persevere through all trials after one has been enlightened by the Spirit of God. It further means to ‘strain every nerve to the uttermost towards the goal’. Note that Jesus states many will seek to enter but will not be able. His statement means many will trust in their self-righteousness instead of humbly accepting God’s gracious provision for true righteousness.
Therefore, while most people, including many professed Christians, believe the majority of mankind will go to Heaven, the Bible doesn’t support that premise. But don’t 75% or more of Americans say they are Christians? Was Billy Graham right when he suggested the majority of those filling church pews were not really Christians?
The Bible also addresses that issue. Many professing Christians will leave the church near the end of the ‘church age’. Such never possessed saving faith but were enamored by what Christianity appeared to offer.
The Apostle John addressed the departure from the church.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” I John 2:19
And lastly, the exodus from the church will accelerate prior to Christ removing the true church just before the tribulation.
“Let no one deceive you by any means, for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin (Anti-Christ) is revealed…” 2 Thessalonians 2:3
Several mainline denominations are already experiencing slowed or negative growth confirming an ‘unpopular truth’ foretold in the Bible.