“Go in through the narrow gate, far the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to hell, and there are many who travel it. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and few people find it.”
The whole Bible echoes these words of Jesus Christ that there are only two roads by which we may travel through this life and only two destinations. While some have always doubted or denied there is an afterlife, most people even today believe in some kind of life to come and are hoping to reach the right destination. The pity is that so few consult God’s map to make sure.
Like a good map, the Bible shows us the right road which will lead us one day into God’s presence and the wonderful joys and fulfilment in service to be found there, and on which we shall even now enjoy His companionship on our journey. The Bible also shows us the wrong road which as certainly leads away from God into total darkness where sin reaps its just reward. While it is unpopular today to mention hell, it was Christ Himself, whose love for man led Him to the cross, who warned us most clearly of its reality.
Many think there are different ways to God and heaven, that all religions lead to the same goal. They do not. Christ has no equals. He is not one among many great religious teachers. He is unique. He alone is God’s Son. He is the only way back to God. Would God have sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world if any religion, sincerely followed, would have done? It is not for us to judge those mistakenly taking the wrong road. God is the judge, He knows everything about everyone. But let us be quite clear, there is in fact only one right road. The Bible makes it crystal clear we can only be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ His Son, who “Died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.” Jesus Himself said, “I am the way … no one comes to the Father, except through me.” Look up the map and see for yourself.
There is so much confusion today about Christianity. So many sincere, good-living, church-going people and those devoted to good causes consider themselves Christians and are not in fact Christians at all according to the Bible.
A true Christian is one to whom Christ is alive and real, one who is relying on Him alone, crucified and risen, for forgiveness and eternal life, one who owns Him as Lord and Saviour, one in whom Christ lives, one who can say, “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself up for me … Christ lives in me … for to me to live is Christ.” Look up the map and see for yourself.
On the right road we shall find such signposts as ‘To Holiness’ for God is light and sin has no place in heaven or in a Christian’s life; ‘To Love’ for God is love and His selfless love, so different from our’s, should fill a Christian’s heart and life; ‘To the Cross’ for Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Contrary to today’s ideas authentic Christianity is not fun. Joyful seriousness is what we find in the New Testament.
On the wrong road the signposts point ‘To Independence’ for man prizes above all else his false freedom from God; ‘To Self-Fulfilment’ for people are always planning for their own advancement; ‘To Self-Indulgence’—recently renamed ‘To the Permissive Society’—for the deceitful pleasures of sin have always fascinated and enslaved mankind. All the signposts point away from God and make man his own and only centre of interest. Man’s chief idol is himself.
Tragically many on the wrong road imagine they are on the right road. Some of these are banking on their sincerity, good neighbourliness, loyalty to their church and religion, efforts to follow Christ’s example or attempts to make this world a happier place, to reach the right destination. To rely on these, however good, is to trust in oneself, a fatal mistake. Others are pinning their hopes on their loyalty to Bible truth, like the Pharisees, while their lives give no evidence of its transforming power. Some have fallen for versions of Christianity, old and new, completely contrary to the New Testament. Others actually misuse the Bible to support their own wrong ideas.
Most of these would reject the idea of anyone being sure of going to heaven, whereas the ‘hope-so’ Christian is unknown in the New Testament. There we find the ring of God-given certainty everywhere, because it springs from complete dependence on God’s free gift of salvation in Christ and is in no way based upon human effort or merit.
On the narrow road no one has a good word to say for himself; everyone is conscious of his sinfulness and God’s mercy. All are relying on Christ alone and conscious of their heavenly citizenship. While concerned for the needs of their fellow-men in this tragic world, they know that their chief business is to strike at the root of man’s problems, his alienation from God. “Be reconciled to God,” is their urgent message as ambassadors for Christ. Their lives are full of God-given assurance, purposefulness, joy, peace and victory, they are walking towards the sun-rise.
Which road are you on? Where are you going? We do not need to choose the broad road, for we have in fact been on it from birth—sin comes naturally to us all—we just find ourselves on it and drift along with the crowd. But we may choose to leave it. Do you want to take the road to life?
At the entrance is a small gate, difficult to enter. It stands for repentance and faith, for no one can become a Christian without first turning from his own independent way of life, seeking God’s pardon for his rebellion and trusting Christ completely for salvation.
The way is narrow because for a Christian the whole of life is decided by the will of God, whose joyful service is true freedom. Its very narrowness makes it safe for pilgrims travelling through enemy territory. It is uphill but the views on the way get better and better and the end of the journey will find us speechless with wonder! And everyone entering the gate immediately finds in Christ the best of Guides and the companionship of those following Him too.
Have you entered the gate? Are you on the right road? Make sure. Do not rely on your own opinions. Consult the map. Only the right road leads to the right destination.
Bible references: Matt. 7:13-14; 13:24-30; 36-43; Luke 9:23; John 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 20:21; 2 Cor. 5:20; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21; 3:20; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 3:14; 4:14; Prov. 14:12; 4:18