“Enter by the narrow gate; for 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 7:13-14)
Two Roads To Walk
When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He gave them two choices: obey Him or disobey Him. In the days of Noah, all men had a choice to believe salvation in the ark or outside the ark. Joshua’s final words to the people of Israel were to realize the importance of making the right choice. Moses giving the Law to the Hebrews was founded upon obedience that would bring blessings or disobedience which brought penalties. Elijah exhorted the people to make up their minds if they were going to serve God or Baal. The friends of Daniel knew they had a choice to either bow to the demands of the king or to serve the one true God.
The gospel message has always been about whether a man will obey the will of the Lord or if he will choose to seek his own course. The existence of a man’s soul is narrowed down to this reality. There are no other choices. A third option is not available. There will be no multiple choices granted. The strictness and narrowness of God’s law are only found in two choices. Jesus taught the multitudes there were only two ways to walk, two precepts to accept and only two ends of the road. The people were astonished at His teaching. His message rang with authority unlike the Jewish teachers of religious law. Challenging the traditional views of scripture, Jesus unfolded the will of the Father to the disciples of a new kingdom yet to be born. Core to the principles of the gospel was the same message heralded from the beginning of time. There is a way that pleases the Lord but is often hard to follow. Most men find greater satisfaction following the easy path and the broad way. The lesson is not so much the journey people take but what is found at the end of the road. Traveling the broad way will be an easier life and more enjoyable but the end is destruction and damnation. The gateway to life is very narrow and restrictive but it leads to life.
Numbers are important to God. The admonition of Jesus is highlighted by the “few” and the “many.” Jesus recognized the majority of humanity will not find eternal life. This is contrary to the doctrines of men who believe most men will be saved. It is not the will of God that any man should perish but the reality is the majority of men will perish in destruction. Few will find salvation. How sad to realize that from the six billion souls that possess the earth the majority will never find eternal life. Like in the days of Noah, only eight were saved out of thousands if not millions. Jesus sadly reported the nature of man is to follow the broad boulevard of carnal pleasures rather than the word of God.
Obedience is found when a man enters the narrow gate. He has to choose to leave the easy and broad path to follow a way that is hard and difficult. Every person must choose which path to follow. There are certain characteristics of the narrow way and the broad way. Those distinctions will determine where a soul finds itself before the throne of God. Complicating the journey is the problem of false teachers. Jesus warns His disciples against following the wrong path by listening to men who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. There is a real danger in believing that all men will tell the truth. Knowing the difference between truth and false doctrine is to examine the fruit of a man’s doctrine and the manner of their life. In nature, grapes will only come from grapevines, not thornbushes. Figs come from fig trees, not thistles. Good trees bear good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. Truth comes from the teaching of God’s word alone.
The broad way and the narrow way are filled with teachers but a choice must be made. Which teacher will I follow? Those who walk the broad way preach a gospel of ease, enjoyment, and pleasure. Their siren song is the wisdom of man. Traveling the wide boulevards of sin appeals to the carnal nature of men who love only themselves and their money, boasting in proud arrogance at God. Religious leaders fill the streets of the broad way teaching the commandments of men. Like bad trees that do not produce good fruit, they are cut down and thrown into the fire. False teachers can be identified by their fruit. It will be a perilous time to stand before the judgment seat of God and realize the soul followed the wrong path as a consequence of listening to false teachers.
The saddest words in the Bible are found in the concluding remarks of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus declares the strictness of the will of God above the doctrines of men. The only ones who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do the will of the Father. Either a man is following the will of God or he is following the teaching of false doctrine. Many, many people are religious, passionate, and devoted to the Lord but are not following the word of God. At the judgment, condemned souls will cry out to the Lord of all the things they have done for Him, and yet they will find no mercy because they have not done the will of the Father. The final curse will fill their ears with the haunting words of the Lord proclaiming, “I never knew you; depart from Me.” How sad to find souls who thought they walked the narrow path but never obeyed the gospel of Christ. They made the wrong choice.
Bringing the Sermon on the Mount to a close, Jesus exhorts His disciples to choose which foundation to build their lives. Hearing the word of God will not save a man if he refuses to change his life. Many heard the teachings of Jesus but turned and walked away. They were unwilling to obey the commandments of the Lord. Hearing and not doing is condemnation. It is like a man who builds his house on the sand and when the storms come the house falls. What value is there for a man who hears the teachings of Jesus and is unwilling to obey His commands? The narrow gate is a difficult way requiring fidelity to the will of God. Hearing and doing the will of God will protect against the opposition and challenges of life. Only the house built upon the rock will stand. Hearing and doing the will of God is salvation; hearing and not doing is destruction. The choice is given: build your life upon the will of God and do His will or perish for not doing His will. The choice is yours but there are only two roads to walk: the broad way or the narrow way.