Minority: Who is The Real Minority?
You may immediately think this article is going to have somethings to do with race relations. Well, that is not the case at all! “The Real Minority” in the world today consists of believers, particularly mature believers who have been faithful to study the Word of God over an extended period of time so as to grow up spiritually. But even just being a believer, someone who has been saved by the grace of God, puts you in a small minority. While it is true that there are many who think of themselves as Christians, the truth of the matter is that there are many of those people who are not Christians. What do I mean? What I’m trying to explain is that people who think they are Christians because of some work or combination of works they have done are not Christians at all! Scripture is quite clear that works of all kinds have nothing to do with the acquisition of salvation for becoming a Christian. Here are several of those passages, just to mention a few.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [Emphasis added]
Always realize that there are many people who suppose they are Christians and headed for heaven but are not. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to help some of these people get their thinking corrected on this. Despite all the confusion over this matter, the Bible is quite clear that essentially salvation has always been a matter of faith, not man’s works. There were times in the past when God required works to manifest one’s faith, but we are now living in what Scripture calls The Dispensation of the Grace of God. During this time-frame salvation comes immediately and permanently through faith alone in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. If you accept Christ’s work in performing those things, you are saved.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]
II Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
If you are depending on other things to get you to heaven, you do not have salvation, you are not headed for heaven. That can change immediately, but you must understand that your works, no matter what they may be, are no substitute for that one work that Christ provided for you through His death, burial and resurrection. If you will simply put your complete trust in that, God will save you immediately.
The idea that salvation, and particularly spiritual maturity, puts one in a minority is easy to see. What you are going to find is that few Christians have and maintain a desire to grow spiritually through habitual intake of God’s Word. The reason for this is that they have other priorities in life, allowing themselves to become distracted from the pursuit of spiritual growth and maturity. In the Bible, the parable of the sower that Jesus gave proves to be an excellent illustration of this.
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
A few verses down in this same passage, Jesus speaks of the lack of interest most people have concerning the learning and application of God’s Word.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. [Emphasis added]
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
He then gives them more on the meaning of the parable.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. [Emphasis added]
The contrast between the unresponsive and the responsive is obvious. The outcome for one and the reward for faithfulness in the other is also clear. Where are you in this?
In the chapter preceding this one in Matthew’s writing, we have another incident that is quite telling. In this situation, our Lord is spending time teaching a circle of people who have been responsive to Him. Notice our Lord’s response to His family when they show up and wish to meet with Him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. [Emphasis added]
Please notice that while our Lord loved His mother and His other family members deeply, He made His point–Family of God should always take priority in our thinking over all others, even the closest of earthly family members. As sad as it may be, there are many believers who have family members they’ll never see again after their departure from this life. Therefore, there is always the urgency of trying to reach family members as best we can with the truth of the gospel message without compromising our other more meaningful and more important relationships. We are warned that there are situations where unbelieving family members can become a great distraction and one’s greatest enemies.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Such situations can become a great test for one’s faithfulness to their Lord and Savior.
Our final situation to note is that of the Apostle Paul. He spent many years faithfully working to present the gospel and bring teaching to many people in many places, including Asia Minor. There he did a tremendous work in evangelism, establishing churches in Ephesus, Colossae, Antioch, and more. But notice what he says to Timothy at the end of his life.
II Timothy 1:15
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. [Emphasis added]
Was his work there all for nothing? Of course not! Many will be in heaven because of his ministry there. But ministry can result in disappointments from people. People who today are very responsive to the Lord may not be at some point in the future. We must always keep our eyes, our focus on the Lord rather than people, even if its family.
As with the Apostle Paul, there’s great reward awaiting all who choose to serve our Lord faithfully. The rewards gained now in this world for such faithfulness are minimal, if any. But the rewards gained then will be fabulous. We must never lose sight of that. Notice Paul’s last words in his second and last letter to Timothy. They serve to be a great reminder to all of us.
II Timothy 4:1-8
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all of them also that love his appearing. [Emphasis added]
Won’t it be fun finding out the exact nature of the rewards He will bestow on the faithful! What a time of celebration that will surely be!