I’m reminded of a story a friend once related to me a long time ago regarding an off-road expedition someone he knew went on. If I remember correctly, the person had a brand new full-size Dodge 4×4, all decked out for off-roading, and he decided to go on a road leading to a place called Devil’s Canyon. He had never been on this road and therefore was unfamiliar with it. As he progressed down the road he found it becoming more and more narrow, and it became apparent to him that backing back up the hill was not an option. Eventually the road became so narrow that it began to scrap the sides of his new truck. Unable to turn around or back up the hill, hoping the road would begin to widen out he continued down the road. That is until his truck became so wedged in that it couldn’t move anymore in any direction. He found a way to exit the truck and began the long walk back to the main highway, leaving the truck in its new resting place indefinitely. The road continued down the hill, but he was unable to continue down it because the vehicle he chose to take was not compatible for the road he was on.
It is recorded twice that Jesus speaks of the narrow road. The most popular passage of Jesus teaching about the narrow road is found in Matthew 7:13-14, where He identifies both the narrow road and the broad road. It is in this passage that we learn that there is a narrow road that leads to life, and a broad road that leads to destruction. Jesus makes it clear that while it is easy to travel the broad road leading to destruction, it is a difficult and narrow road that one must travel to receive life and only few find it. In Luke 13:22-30 Jesus spends some extra time talking about the narrow gate and how many will seek to enter it but will not be able to. He points out that while many will say they ate and drank in His presence, and that He taught in their streets, He will tell them to “depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” How can someone who initially started out on the narrow road end up on the broad road that leads to destruction, and subsequently denied entrance into heaven?
There are a number of reasons one might find themselves on the broad road. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is because the narrow road was more difficult than they wanted to go through, and in trying to avoid some of the difficulty they have chosen to switch from the narrow road to the broad road. Living for Christ was more demanding than what they expected or committed to, and for them it wasn’t worth it. They chose the easy way of life instead of the difficult path of following Jesus.
Some people have embraced the idea that God’s grace insures their entrance into heaven no matter how they live, taking the mindset that all their sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven and nothing is expected or required of them. Because they asked God for forgiveness when they accepted Him as their savior, they tend to think that they no longer need to ask forgiveness for any future sin, and that they can continue without turning from sin. While it is true that God’s grace is extremely wonderful to experience, to think that God expects nothing in return, or that He doesn’t expect us to turn from sin, can find you on the easy and broad road to destruction.
For some, they have tossed out any trace of a moral compass on how to live. For them, there is no such thing as right or wrong, or even good and evil, in the life of a Christian. Some will go so far as discount even the need to acknowledge or listen to their conscience, citing that as Christians under a new covenant there is no longer a need for it. These people do not see the need to repent of sin, especially since in their opinion there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil. They believe all humanity after Christ is inherently good and redeemed, just on different journeys to eternity. This is the quick route to the easy and broad road leading to the broad gate and destruction.
The guy in the first paragraph used the wrong vehicle on a narrow road that brought complete destruction to the truck. In much the same way, a person with the wrong mindsets and ideologies may find that the beliefs they embraced and lived by were incompatible for the difficult and narrow road leading to eternal life, and as a result find themselves going through the broad and easy gate to destruction when it’s all said and done.
The Christian walk is very simple, just living our lives in a way that pleases and honors God. We often times make it more complicated when we try to designate what parts of our life Jesus has access and control over, and what parts He doesn’t. Every part of our life, and everything that we have, is Gods, and we need to remember to live accordingly with that understanding. While the Christian life is simple, it is not an easy one. We read in Luke 9:23-26 what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and it’s not an easy life to live when our flesh is constantly warring within us to live as we please and in ways that we consider right in our own eyes. In Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 we are told that “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.
Are you on the narrow road? Or, are you on the broad and easy road that leads to destruction? When was the last time you took a good hard look at your life to make sure that you’re on the difficult and narrow road? If you have been on the easy and broad road, it’s not too late to make a change and get on the right road. In Philippians 2:12 we are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Many of the people I described above are taking their walk with Christ, or for some God, rather nonchalantly thinking that their eternal destination is set and can’t really be changed. What Paul is telling us is that we need to take our walk with Christ very seriously, having a reverence towards a righteous judge knowing that while His love for us is without measure, He is also very just and will not allow sin to enter into Heaven. Grace, God’s grace, is not a ticket to sin, but instead an opportunity through Christ and the Holy Spirit to live the life that God intended for us to live from the beginning.
In Matthew 7:21-27, talking about those who claim to be followers of Jesus, Jesus makes some sobering statements for all of us to consider. Jesus mentions that there will be many who call Him Lord that will not enter into Heaven. Oh, they had quite the resume, doing marvelous things that could only be done in Jesus’ name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus tells them to depart from Him. Why did he tell them to depart from Him? He tells us in verse 23 that they were workers of iniquity, or lawlessness as one version translates the text. Basically, they were doing the supernatural in the name of Jesus, thinking that they were His followers and representatives to the world, but apparently they were living in disobedience to Him living life as they thought best and right in their own eyes. They were not living according to the will of the Father. In 1 John 2:3-6 and 1 John 5:3 the Apostle John makes it very clear what the indicator is of one who truly knows and loves Jesus, and that is whether or not they keep and do His commandments. If one doesn’t keep His commandments, or even acknowledges that we need to keep His commandments, then scripture is clear that the love of God has not been perfected within them, or that they are even of Him. They are living life as it seems right to them, but as we read in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, living life like that leads to death.
If you’re not living on the difficult and narrow road that leads to eternal life, then this is the time to get on it, and on it to stay. It’s all about the road that you are on, difficult and narrow or easy and broad. Which will it be for you????
John Johansson (Pastor John)