The question about how many are saved (Luke 13 22-30) is a strikingly sharp one. Investigating the answer can lead to one of two opposed problems. Either, as with Jesus’ questioner, there is a sense of being righteous, and therefore a spiritual pride – a pride which Jesus effectively debunks by pointing out how many will come from East and West and North and South into the kingdom – in other words it isn’t just for the Jews.
Or else there is the opposite problem of fear – a fear of being condemned by God, of not coming up to the mark. This is a problem because love and fear are opposites, and this sort of fear is crippling, radically inhibiting the possibility of showing forth love in our world. Which is what we are here for.
I understand that the orthodox explicitly teach that salvation is a mystery that it is unhealthy to spend too much time considering. We have to concentrate on being loving, depending solely on grace, and allowing that love to be demonstrated by our lives. We are to trust and depend solely on the mercy of God. Too much time considering ‘How many are saved?’ ends up with sectarian strife. Something which our Anglican Communion may need to ponder a little further, today especially.