Two ways to go.

Do you really want the way that looks easy?

by Edward Langenback

© 7/7/03

God has shown His love for humanity in many ways. He started in the garden of Eden before the fall of man when He gave man dominion over everything else He created (Genesis 1:26). Then when Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and gave to Adam who also ate, God was loving and merciful. Instead of simply vaporizing both of them right then and there, He who speaks the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) told satan that from the seed of the woman would arise a man whom satan would be able to attack, but who would ultimately defeat him (Genesis 3:15). God then made clothing for the people who had sinned and learned that they were naked.

God showed the ultimate expression of His love for us in giving Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. Then we can escape the penalty of sin and join Him in His kingdom as His children. Jesus showed God's Love throughout His ministry. He healed everyone who came to Him. He cast out demons, gave sight to the blind and raised the dead and much more. He also taught one of the core truths of God's law:

Leviticus 19:18, "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

In this portion of God's law, we are told not to go after revenge and that we are not to hold grudges or deliberately stay angry. While we may be angry with someone once in a while, God does not want us to stay that way for very long nor does He want us to go seeking revenge. Instead, we are told to love our neighbour the same as we love ourselves. This is one of the many ways in which the Lord shows us that we are to follow Him, imitating just like a child copies a parent. He gives us the same love that He expects us to give each other.

Despite the love that God has shown us and that He wants to give us in abundance, there are many who will not ever enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus actually spoke on this subject several times. In one, He used the illustration of the two gates:

Matthew 7:13-14, "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."

Examine what is meant when the text uses the word 'strait'. It is translated from the Greek stenos {pronounced sten-os'} [strongs number 4728] and means narrow, a strait (as in a narrow path). This shows that the gate Jesus is telling us to enter is a narrow gate or pathway.

He calls the other gate 'broad'. That word is translated from the Greek euruchoros {pronounced yoo-roo'-kho-ros} [strongs number 2149] and means spacious, broad. The gate Jesus wants us to avoid is the one that is wide. The wide gate is easy to find, easy to enter. A lot of people are using it. Jesus makes it clear that just because something looks easy or because most people are doing it, doesn't make it right. He says the broad, wide, easy to enter gate with the wide, easy to find pathway is the one that leads to destruction. Just how bad is the destruction that Jesus is speaking of? The word destruction in this verse is translated from the Greek apoleia {pronounced ap-o'-li-a} [strongs number 684] which means destroying, utter destruction, a perishing, ruin, destruction.

When Jesus says this broad gate leads to destruction, He is serious. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Yet Jesus says of the broad gate, "many there be which go in thereat", and of the narrow gate He says "few there be that find it". This begins to paint a horrifying picture. People blindly, ignorantly and sometimes even knowingly, walking down a path that will lead to the ultimate disaster. The multitude rush toward the wide gate. Sadly, few find the narrow gate.

Luke 13:24, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

The word to really look at here is 'strive'. Translated from the Greek agonizomai {pronounced ag-o-nid'-zom-ahee} [strongs number 75] it means to contend with adversaries, fight. to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers to endeavour with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something. This once again shows that the gate that Jesus is telling us to enter is not an easy path. He is making it clear that this is going to take some effort on our part and that we are going to face opposition. Going the way He wants puts us in the path of opposition from everyone who is busily rushing headlong down the broad path to destruction. It can be summed up in the old saying "Anything worth having is worth working for".

This does NOT mean that we are somehow doing something to earn our salvation! It is not possible for any of us who have sinned to be worthy of heaven on our own merit. But having committed ourselves to finding and entering the narrow gate, we know that it is not easy to oppose the vast numbers that are walking into the broad gate. The word 'many' in this verse is translated from the Greek polus {pronounced pol-oos'} [strongs number 4183] and means many, much, large. Therefore large numbers of people will seek to enter the narrow gate and will not be able. Entering that narrow gate is not the easy thing to do. It requires a constant, deliberate effort to walk the path that God has set for us. Being saved and becoming a child of God is something that we actually have to do on purpose. It is not possible to be saved by accident or for any other reason than our own deliberate decision.

If you have not made this deliberate, on purpose, quality decision to accept Jesus and all that He is and wants to give you, right now is the best time.

2 Corinthians 6:2, "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation)"

Salvation is something that we all need. Nobody is exempt because everybody has blown it. If God were to quickly avenge every sin as soon as it happened, then everybody would be crispy critters before we could so much as blink.

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Because all have sinned, all must pay the price of sin. This price is expensive. The disaster is total. When God speaks of death as the wages of sin, He is not simply talking about the physical body breathing it's last and that person's spirit appearing before Him. This death is the second death referred to in Revelation 20:14, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Yet God has given us a gift that pays the price for us. It is given simply because He loves us and does NOT want anyone to perish in the lake of fire not made for humans (Matthew 25:41). Being cast (hurled, thrown) into the lake of fire is what God means when He speaks of the second death. This is the nightmare that never ends. It is the fate that God wants us to avoid so much that He sent Jesus to die in our place.

Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

He did not wait until we earned salvation because there is no way we could. We just cannot do it. God's standard is absolute perfection and because all of us have sinned we are not good enough no matter how much we try.

Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

Grace is favor or preferential treatment, a gift that is not deserved and could not be purchased by the one receiving it. We cannot earn this, it is God's gift of grace. To be saved we need only accept Jesus, believe that God raised Him from the dead and claim Him as savior

Romans 10:9-10, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Matthew 10:32, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."

We each get to choose our own fate. God will not force you to accept.

Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"

Your gift awaits. It is totally free. The decision is yours.

Speak to God in a prayer like this one:

"Lord, I have sinned. I know that because of this sin I am spiritually bankrupt and can never pay the price of it. I accept the free gift you have given in Jesus. His death on the cross is the only price that will pay for my sins. In His resurrection is the only way I can live and be a part of your kingdom. I confess right now and forever that Jesus is my Lord and savior. He is the way, the truth and the life that gives me the ability to enter heaven. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and teach me how to be one of your children. In the name of Jesus, thank you."

If you have just prayed this prayer or one like it then it's time to celebrate because now you can become a child of God and a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"

You have a clean slate with God. By accepting His gift you have been born again (John 3:1-7) you literally have been made into a new person.

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Having been reborn with a new spiritual nature you no longer face hell and the lake of fire.

Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Those who choose to follow the lead of the Spirit show that they have chosen to become the children of God.

Romans 8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

You should get a Bible and begin to learn about who you have become and the family you have joined.