Ron and Nathele Graham
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
In the days when Jesus walked the shores of Galilee it was notable that the roads leading into the larger cities were broad allowing a huge throng of travelers to enter together. There were also narrow pathways with even narrower gates for entering such cities unobserved, and according to Jesus’ statement few enter in through that narrow gate.
What Jesus is alluding to here is that many people will choose to travel the wide path, that’s those that are of the world. People who are unconcerned with God or their eternal salvation are who Jesus is talking about. They are only concerned with the daily grind of getting ahead, what they can glean out of this life, “What’s in it for me” type of attitude.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
They are blinded from the truth of the Gospel of Christ. They see no benefit in following Jesus’ teachings. They pay no attention to the idea of dying someday. They only wish to pursue pleasures that keep them content for the day.
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:19)
The highway which leads to death is broad and multitudes travel that path. It is a great highway in which most people will never come to realize its destructive powers. They fall into following that destructive path easily and they are persuaded of its allure by others who have already made it their life’s path. Leaving that path takes a special kind of thinking. Those who are perishing for the most part have no concept what awaits them at the end of that wide path.
Christ has laid out for us in advance how we are to enter into heaven, we must enter through Him, and He tells us it won’t be easy to follow His path:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Following Jesus won’t be a cake walk. We must understand that entering in through the narrow gate and following Jesus Christ will lead to persecution and hatred from those who are still on the wide highway, many of which may well be family members of whom we love.
Every day we are fed lies that are designed to keep us off the straight path and away from the narrow gate; this is in direct opposition to the gospel of Christ. Through movies and television, the leftist news media, the internet, and our humanistic public schools, we are taught there is no such thing as God.
In the view of secular scientists there is no other path to take other than the wide path. In their way of thinking the straight path and the narrow gate aren’t even an alternative. “There just isn’t any truth in the Bible” they say. “It’s antiquated and not reliable, stay away from it.” As you can see, people are programmed from an early age to travel the path that leads to destruction.
With Jesus’ words taken from Matthew 7, it is clear that for a huge multitude of people what awaits them is everlasting torment once they leave this world. Why? Because they couldn’t reconcile themselves to the truth and make a lane change.
For a select few in comparison, there will be everlasting life in Heaven with our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. This is so, because we followers of Jesus Christ persevered in the face of adversity. We are admonished to hold fast to the faith.
“Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised.” (Hebrews 10:23)
There is a joy that goes along with our salvation which is frankly difficult to explain to non believers. But aside from that joy, we have God’s assurance that for those of us who have elected to travel the straight path and enter in through the narrow gate, heaven awaits.
Hell, on the other hand doesn’t conjure up any joy whatsoever. Some foolish people make the comment, “Oh well, I’ll be with friends.” Nowhere in the scriptures are we told that hell will be this huge everlasting kegger in park. No, Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew what hell is,:
“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity… And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41, 42)
Jesus uses this phrase (wailing and gnashing of teeth) six times in the Gospel of Matthew. Therefore it must be quite significant. Hell is described as a place created for Satan and his angels. Hell was not created for mankind, nor will God send anyone there.
Those whose final destination is hell will only have themselves to blame, not God. Adam and Eve’s rebellion led to God’s creation being cursed, and because Man sinned, God dealt with it. God gives everyone on the face of this planet ample advance notice of the two destinations of which one or the other awaits us all.
In heaven we will be surrounded by indescribable beauty and a magnificence that is beyond our wildest dreams. Hell on the other hand is the ultimate in everlasting suffering. It is a place where no one in their right mind would ever choose to go. Yet it’s a place where everyone, through their own resolve, will end up for eternity if there is no repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
For those who don’t get the concept of an eternity in hell let me explain. Going to hell isn’t just a life sentence such as going to prison; it’s an eternal sentence with no possibility of a reprieve from the governor, or in this case Jesus Christ our LORD. Since we’re told its everlasting that’s what I believe. Some will try to say that everlasting only means for a while. Jesus Himself uses the word everlasting four times in the Gospel of Matthew.
The Greek word is aiōnios, when translated into English we get the following meanings, for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity. Therefore there’s no reason to assume that those who find themselves in first hell, then the lake of fire for eternity—all because of their foolish pride, arrogance, lack of faith will ever be released from that horrible torment.
Narrow path or wide highway, it’s a choice we must make and there is no middle ground. It’s kind of like the television game show the Price Is Right only there’s just two doors to choose from, door number one and door number two. But unlike the game show, what’s behind each door is in plain view for everyone to see, and everyone on the face of this planet will play.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
If we choose to travel that wide path, that worldly path, that path that will lead us to destruction, we have no excuse because it was our choice. Just like the game show above, we made our choice freely. Wouldn’t it be better to choose the strait path and enter in through the narrow gate that is Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we receive eternal life?
When we die our choices are over. The very instant we die we will either be with our Lord Jesus in heaven or in hell for all of eternity. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that our paths are pre-determined; we must decide for ourselves which course we are going to take, and nothing is more important than our eternal salvation. Remember this no one knows what tomorrow will bring. As fragile as these bodies of ours are, today could be the very day we enter into eternity.
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
Which path will you take?
The wise choose Jesus. The foolish choose … well, you know, that eternal place called the lake of fire.
God bless you all,