Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
The Narrow Way
There are no shortcuts to eternal life with God. The way to eternal life with God is narrow, it is restricted (confined within limits). It is not the way most traveled. It is not the popular or in vogue road to journey on. It is a path of suffering, but of joy and peace, too. And, it is a pathway of sacrifice.
For, Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God. And, he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) with his blood so that we might glorify the Lord with our lives and with our bodies (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:19-20).
Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means that we die to our old lives of sin, that we are changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that now we walk (in lifestyle) in holiness, purity and righteousness in the power of God. For, he set us free from our slavery to sin so that we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
The Scriptures teach, as well, that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, if we walk (in practice) according to (in agreement with) our flesh, then we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
The Broad Road
The way that is wide, though, is the easy (relaxed, lazy, slothful) way which leads to destruction. There are no real restrictions on this broad path. The boundary lines which God laid down for us are demolished. The way of holiness is brought into disrepute by calling it “self-righteousness.” And, the way of the cross is falsely called “works-based salvation.”
The message here is more “Come one, come all to easy street where you can confess Jesus Christ as Savior of your life and be guaranteed heaven as your eternal destiny, but you don’t have to follow any rules. You don’t have to treat God with honor and respect. You are free to disobey his commands and to indulge in your sensual appetites as much as you want.”
They have so simplified the gospel that they have removed the power of the cross from its message. They have cut the message in half, cheapened it, and made it a free license for lasciviousness, while they falsely claim God’s grace as a covering for their willful sinful practices. Isn’t that kind of like getting rid of police (the law) so that they can live in depravity?
Jesus didn’t do away with God’s moral laws when he died for our sins. His grace is not a free license to now sin as much as you want without guilt. Those moral boundaries are still there, written down for us over again in the New Testament. And, we are commanded to obey the Lord, too, if we want to have eternal life with God (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
Matthew 7:15-20 ESV
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
But there are plenty of false prophets/teachers who are very charming and manipulative who are convincing the masses that the broad road is the path to eternal life and that the narrow road is what leads to destruction. But they are dead wrong! And, if you follow their lies, you will die, too, in your sins.
We will recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing by their fruits, i.e. by their consistent attitudes, philosophies, values, morals, and behaviors. But we will also recognize them by the fruit in the lives of those who follow them, too, who think God’s grace is a free ride to heaven but that they can continue to live like hell until they get there.
We should also be able to discern their false messages by testing them against the Scriptures, but IN CONTEXT! False doctrines and false religions are formed out of taking Scriptures out of context to make them say what itching ears want to hear. So, it is critical that, as we read the Scriptures, that we read them in context, praying for God to give us understanding.
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
There are many professers of Christianity today who call Jesus “Lord,” but it is just a title they give him. It doesn’t mean that he is truly their master and that they are his bond-slaves. For they have been taught by these wolves in sheep’s clothing that all they have to do is to say a prayer or acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and that they are good to go.
No repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ required. They can make their confession of faith, but still live like they did before, only now without guilt. They can continue in their sexual immorality, their lies, their cheating, their adulteries, and their idolatry, etc. while claiming Jesus is their Lord and that heaven is their eternal destiny. False!
But they are in for a huge surprise! God doesn’t agree with them. He doesn’t think like they think. He didn’t cheapen his gospel. They did! That is not what the truth is in Christ Jesus. For, it is that we must put to death our former lives of living for sin and self, and we must be changed in heart and mind, and we must now put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, which are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24).
So, take God and his word seriously. If all you are doing is mouthing his name “Lord,” but you are not surrendering your life to him, forsaking your sins, and following him in obedience, then he is not your Lord. And, one day he is going to say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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