The Divinity of the Spirit and the Percentage of those who are Saved

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Question #2: 

Bob, In scanning some of the e-mails on your site I thought I saw an estimate of 1% as the possible saved? Is there any back-up other than the general verses (many called...few chosen etc.) you quoted in some of the most recent mail?


Response #2:

When our Lord was asked by His disciples, "Lord, are those who are being saved few?", He responded by telling them to "enter by the narrow door" (Lk.13:22-30), and His disquisition which follows makes it clear that many who think they know God actually do not.

I probably should have said "extremely small percentage" instead of giving this number, but I do think it is accurate with regard to historical world population. Here is my reasoning. Consider that in the world today that of approximately 7 billion or so human beings less than a third are counted as "Christian" by those who estimate such things. Of this generously estimated 30%, we must concede that in many places in the world being a "Christian" is a social designation. In much of Africa and the Middle East you have to be something, and if you are not Muslim you are probably Christian. Your tribe, nationality, and family often determine this designation rather than any decision from your heart to follow Jesus.

Further, the statistic above includes Europe, and most Europeans are described by the bean-counters (and would no doubt describe themselves) as "Christian", but unlike the USA where we assume that there may be at least some element of choice involved in this decision (even traditionalists here have so many options that they are at some time in their lives at least challenged to consider why they "are what they are"), European Christianity is by and large a matter of tradition in its entirety. Spiritually speaking, there is little fervor for Christ (and I would argue genuine belief in His Person and saving work) in the many millions of "Christians" that continent is said to represent. So let us cut the number to a third of the original total to allow for the removal of statistical/traditional "Christians" and we are left with 10%. I am sure that you yourself have plenty of experience with individuals even within genuine Christian churches who are not truly believers in and followers of Jesus Christ. How much more would that not be so in the case of many denominations whose allegiance itself to the Lord is in truth very weak if even truly genuine (and these probably contain the lion's share of so-called Christians)! I would be surprised if it is a tenth (i.e., 1% overall) are really followers of Christ, based upon what I have learned and observed in my own life.

And there is of course more. The parable of the sower allows for those who are saved but fall away under persecution (apostasy: Matt.13:20-21), and for those whose faith is choked by the weeds of life (at least potential apostasy: Matt.13:22). Not even everyone who believes makes it over the finish line with faith still intact.

Looking forward to the years before the Tribulation and the apathy that is growing in the church visible, and into the Tribulation and the falling away of one third of genuine believers that is predicted to occur in the Great Apostasy (see the link: "The Great Apostasy"), one would have to reduce the figure even further. More than that, looking backward requires a serious reduction in the figure, since in the days of the Apostles only a very small percentage of even the Roman world had heard the good news by the time that greatest generation had died out, much less the rest of the globe. And before the cross, well, Israel was the witness to the world, and there was some proselytizing etc., but only a handful of non-Jews, relatively speaking, would have been believers.

In the USA, clearly the figure is more than 1%, but it is also probably much smaller than most people assume. Consider that . . .

        1) Abraham's conservative estimate of the number of believers in Sodom which turned out to be far more than he expected (Gen.18:16 - 19:29);

        2) the reduction of the number of the faithful in the northern kingdom at the time of Elijah's ministry to a mere "7,000 who have not bent the knee to Baal" (i.e., many more than Elijah thought, but a mere fraction of the population, surely less than 1%: 1Kng.19:18);

        3) the fact that only "a tenth" will remain in Israel after the Tribulation (Is.6:13), and not even all of these will enter the land (Ezek.20:35-38).

The one wild card in all of this is the unknown number of individuals from Adam to our Lord's return who have failed or will fail to reach moral accountability. All those who die before attaining the age of even being able to decide for or against God will not come into judgment for rejecting Christ. This is also true of all who have lacked or will lack the mental competency to make the decision for which, ultimately, we are all born, namely, of wanting God or rejecting Him, of accepting His truth or preferring the devil's lies. Given the high rate of infant mortality, especially in antiquity, that fact alone means that every nation, race, and people since the re-population of the world with mankind after the Genesis gap will be represented in the Church of Jesus Christ (cf. Ps.8:2), and for this reason alone it is impossible to produce an accurate number for the overall composition of the Body of Christ as a percentage of humanity generally. The one thing that we can definitely say is that this percentage will be "extremely small indeed":

How narrow the gate and how constricted the road which leads to life! And those who find it are few.

Matthew 7:14

The following link spells out these and related matters in greater detail:

            The Refining of the Remnant (in CT 3A)

Hope this gets to the nub of your question.

In our Lord,

Bob L.

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