"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 and 14).
These are the sobering words of Jesus as he spoke to the people in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. We are told that when He finished speaking the people were astonished. Certainly His words should produce the same feeling in us today. All of the Savior's words are terribly significant and a careful word by word study is important. For example, let us consider the word "few."
"Few" is defined as a "small number" or "not many" but our concept of that word depends on the context or the item under consideration. A "few mustard seeds" might bring to our mind a much larger number than would "a few elephants." Therefore, to fully understand the use of few as used by Jesus we need to consider the context. Obviously He is speaking of few people but we might ask "how few is few?" There are many instances recorded in God's word that help us put this question in proper perspective. Peter tells us that "a few, that is eight souls," were saved in the ark (1 Pet. 3:20). This, of course, was eight out of the total world population at a time that mankind was extremely sinful. We might argue that we are now a part of God's chosen people and it is God's people who form "the few." However, it appears that "few" can properly be used in comparing the saved to those who profess to be God's people.
Consider God's chosen people as they waited for Moses to come down out of the mountain with the law of God. We all know the story of the golden call. How many of God's chosen people remained loyal to God? A few! When the spies reported their findings in Canaan, how many of the chosen remained loyal to God? Remember that these were people who knew God and professed to be His but in many recorded situations only an alarming few remained loyal.
So it is today. We can profess to be God's people, we can be "baptized believers" and still not be numbered among "the few." These are sobering thoughts as well they should be for we all need to take stock daily to determine if we are really numbered among "the few." Do we truly live for Christ? Do we truly put Him first? Do we truly resist temptation? Do we obey Him daily or do we take comfort in the thought that "we obeyed Him?" The answers to these questions are truly a matter of life and death -eternal life and death. - James Finley