5.1.2020 The Narrow Path of Salvation
Word for the Warrior May 1. 2020 The Narrow Gate
"Why did God make salvation such a narrow path?"...if He really wants to save everyone, why didn’t He make it easier to be saved?
Enter the Narrow Gate by John Michael Talbot
"Why did God make salvation such a narrow path?" This passage causes some to question the goodness of God. After all, if He really wants to save everyone, why didn’t He make it easier to be saved? Why doesn’t He simply let everyone into heaven?
When we read the word narrow, we tend to associate it with prejudicial selection. It sounds as though God has rated us all on some scale of acceptability and only allows a select few to enter His presence. However, a few verses earlier, Jesus had told the same audience, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matthew 7:7–8). Jesus made it clear: the path to eternal life is open to everyone who asks. However, the gate to heaven is “narrow” in the sense of having a particular requirement for entrance—faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is found only in the Person of Jesus Christ; He is the only way (John 14:6). The “wide” gate is non-exclusive; it allows for human effort and all other of the world’s religions. Jesus says that the narrow gate leads to a “hard” road, one that will take us through hardships and difficult decisions. Following Jesus requires crucifying our flesh, living by faith, enduring trials with Christlike patience, and living a lifestyle separate from the world. When faced with the choice between a narrow, bumpy road and a wide, paved highway, most of us choose the easier road. Human nature gravitates toward comfort and pleasure. When faced with the reality of denying themselves to follow Jesus, most people turn away (John 6:66). Jesus never sugar-coated the truth, and the truth is that not many people are willing to pay the price to follow Him. God offers salvation to everyone who accepts it. But it is on His terms. We must come the way He has provided. We cannot create our own paths or come to a holy God based on our own efforts. Compared to His righteousness, we are all filthy. God cannot simply excuse or overlook our sin. He is merciful, but He is also just. Justice requires that sin be paid for. At great cost to Himself, He paid that price. Without the blood of Jesus covering our sin, we stand guilty before the God we rejected. The way to God was completely closed, and sin was the roadblock. No one deserves a second chance. We all deserve to stay on the "wide road that leads to destruction." But God loved us enough to provide the path to eternal life anyway. However, He also knows that in our self-centered, sin-saturated world there are not many who will desire Him enough to come to Him on His terms.
Satan has paved the highway to hell with fleshly temptations, worldly attractions, and moral compromises. Most people allow their passions and desires to dictate the course of their lives. They choose temporary, earthly pleasure over the self-sacrifice required in following Jesus. The narrow gate is ignored. Most people would rather create their own religions and design their own gods. So it was with sorrow, not discrimination, that Jesus declared that the road to eternal life is "narrow, and only a few find it."
Recommended Resource: Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias
Our Prayer Today: Abba Father—we thank you for all the encouraging & comforting words you have given us—but we cannot neglect the words in the Bible concerning the way, the truth & the life. You don’t sugar coat things and pacify us with “Don’t worry, it’ll be OK honey”—no! You have given us a specific blueprint for the life we are to live after receiving the biggest gift in our lives—salvation. But you are saying there is a PRICE TO PAY. We don’t especially like those words. But you aren’t offering CHEAP GRACE—because obedience, self-control, discipline, hardships, suffering is also a part of the package—for our lives to be complete in Christ.
You allow us to be bottle-fed like babies for awhile, but you want us to grow up. Just like children, we learn as we grow—by making mistakes, falling, getting back up, and finally realizing we need lots of help from Holy Spirit to become mature adults! Thankfully, you have provided all we need for this journey—but you said it wouldn’t all be a joy ride. IF it were, we would never become the strong warriors—soldiers of the cross—that you determined us to be.
So, today, help us to “walk out” the good fight of faith, growing, maturing, & willing to enter in through the narrow gate which leads to eternal life. Trusting in YOU, we come.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen