The Struggle of Salvation

Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate.   
Strive to enter in.  
You must strain every nerve.  
You must struggle to get in.  
Fight your way in.  
You must do your utmost to get in.
Exert every effort to enter through the narrow door.
Work hard to enter the narrow door.
Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to.  
-Luke 13:24

Is salvation easy or hard?

Jesus' words in this verse seem to indicate that salvation is hard.  We know the price God paid for our salvation.  The crucifixion  was real, it was excruciating for Jesus.  But Jesus is not saying here that it is going to be hard for him.  He is saying that a struggle, an effort has to occur in his hearers to be saved.

Is salvation by works or grace?

Salvation is by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  You cannot earn it.  He said that we just need to believe in him and we would be saved through him (John 3:16-17).  So, why would Jesus say, "strive to enter in"?  I thought that we were not supposed to strive, but just receive and believe.

The backdrop to Jesus' hard saying, is the question asked by someone in the previous verse: "Lord, will only a few be saved?"  There was an ongoing debate whether few or many would be saved.

Some Christians are asking this same question today.  Another question that some people ask about others is, "are they a Christian?"

Jesus says that the person's salvation that you should be concerned about is your own.

Jesus says that you ought to be concerned with your own salvation because is is difficult.

If salvation is not by works, but it is hard, if it's a fight; what's Jesus talking about?

He's talking about the door or the gate: 
The narrow door or narrow gate.  

He, Jesus, is that door that is narrow.  
He, Jesus, is that gate that is narrow.

Salvation is about being in Christ.

Being in Christ is hard.  It's a struggle.  We have to make every effort.  There will be sweat and tears.  Your flesh, your human nature, your carnality will oppose Christ and Christlikeness.  The world will oppose Christ in you as will the devil.  

If you are not in a fight over Christ in you, there might be a problem with your salvation.