Imagine if an angel came to you and said I’m giving you the ability to safely travel with any system you like. You want to drive a train—It’s yours, a plane—go fly it, hydroplane—take it! Space ship to pogo stick anyway you want to move I give you the authority and the ability. But there is one thing I cannot allow you to do. You must never get behind the wheel of a Saturn LS2. That car is strictly off limits. The day you drive it you will experience a fatal crash.
Now this is an incredible deal! You have basically unlimited means by which to travel. So you do. Life is good. Until one day, some person you have never seen before shows up and invites you to test drive the Saturn. You relay to this cheese head that the LS2 is off limits. An angel told you what would happen. But this guy is persistent. He says you were misinformed, that what the angel meant to say is once you drive the Saturn, nothing else will seem the same, you will be thoroughly enlightened. So what do you do?
Matthew 7:13,14--Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
To understand Jesus’ message in Matthew 7:13,14 we ought to go back and take a quick trip through the Old Testament. We discover an amazing truth. In Genesis 2:16,17; 3:4-6, God gave Adam and Eve jurisdiction over the entire garden. The only stipulation was that they could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They chose to disobey God and every human since was infected with a sin nature.
Moses challenged the Israelites at Mt. Ebal in Deuteronomy 30:19,20to choose life by following after God or death by rebelling against Him. They consistently rebelled.
Joshua before passing away, called on his promised land kinsman to either fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully or worship the idols of their forefathers or the idols of the Amorites (Joshua 24:14,15). After he died they rapidly embraced idol-worship.
Jeremiah passed on God’s instructions to those in Judah to surrender to the Babylonians and live, or resist and die (Jeremiah 21:8,9). They fought and fell to disease and the sword.
By the end of the O.T. we can make some pretty clear observations about people.
1. When dealing with matters of the heart, people do not like absolutes. There is a historical pattern evident in every civilization of resistance to obeying God. Rather than prosper by following His guidance we wilt inside the prison of our own relativism. We despair at the hole in our soul unfilled by the dirt of our own choosing.
2. At the core of this resistance is pride. “I don’t like being told what I have to do.” The proof of pride is that we focus on the forbidden at the expense of the fabulous. Rather than enjoy the forest we resent the fact that one tree is off limits.
Isn’t it amazing that God knowing what He does about us persists in allowing us the right of choice! He will not take away our free will nor will He coerce obedience. He purposely sacrifices His holy Son to rescue us from our evil state. Jesus is the solution to pollution, the antidote to sin, the life preserver to humanity drowning in rebellion.
Left to ourselves we validate condemnation. By faith in Christ we are saved. Enter the small gate (vs. 13). Follow the narrow road—the way marked by persecution and opposition (vs. 14). We can fault God’s way from our mawkish pride and drive down our self-made freeways to hell. Or we can celebrate His awesome love and be redeemed. We can blast God for what is off-limits or praise Him for what is on grace. Eternal condemnation is a sad outcome when forever celebration is a viable option!
Beware of turning your back on what you know is true because you do not want it to be real. Jesus Christ never says that a man is damned because he is a sinner; the condemnation is when a man sees what Jesus Christ came to do and will not let Him do it.—Oswald Chambers in The Servant As His Lord
©2000 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)