Road So Narrow

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

A young Hindu student studying in this country heard a speaker at an international group saying that Jesus Christ was the only Saviour of the world. Afterward he said; “I do not like your idea that there is only one crowd way to Heaven — your Christian way. I like to think that there are many ways — your way and mine, the way of the Christians, and the way of the Hindus, and the way of the Muslims and of all religions. Your way is too narrow. I like room on the road I travel. I want other people with me, not just my own group.” This all sounded very broad-minded. It was broad-minded. It was broad-road thinking. It leads to destruction. Not because the speaker said one thing and he said another; that is irrelevant. But Christ said one thing, and Hinduism says another. If Christ had said that men came to God through Hinduism, the young man could be right; but since Christ said, “No man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6), the young man is dangerously wrong. He may want a broad road with room for all faiths. There is such a road indeed, but it does not lead where he wants to go. He must simply recognize the fact that there are but two roads, and they lead to different places. Until he learns it, until you learn it, you are on the broad road that leads to destruction. Jesus Christ ought to know.

You will never get on the right road until you recognize that there are only two roads and that only one of these is the right road. But recognizing this fact is not getting on the right road. You have to find it andcrossroads enter it. You need make no effort whatever to find the broad road. Men are born on that road. They are born in sin and on the way to destruction. Most of them stay on that road all their lives and forever. Many of them never even think of getting off while they still have an opportunity. They like the road until at last, when it is too late, they see where it leads. But to get on the right road real effort is required. An act of the will is required once the narrow road is found. No effort is required to remain on the broad road. To make no effort is the best way to stay on the broad road. It is the road of no resistance; it is the course of the evil world that walks according to the prince of the power of the air. But the narrow road must be found and entered with great difficulty.

Dante’s Inferno tells of Virgil leading Dante to the entrance to Inferno. There is a sign saying, “Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.” There is a sign over the entrance to the Kingdom of God also and it reads: “Abandon all pride, all ye who enter here.” All who would enter this narrow road must abandon all pride. They must recognize that they do not deserve to be permitted to enter this way. They must know that they have forfeited all right to escape the just damnation of their former evil ways. God is under no obligation whatever to rescue them from their Hellhound way. He has every right to permit them to go on to their destruction. The narrow road is a road of free grace, of condescending mercy. No one ever deserves to find or enter this way. Only God’s grace can show and open it. They must enter it in abject penitence, with nothing in their hands, with only a plea of mercy on their lips and in their hearts. “If any man,” said Christ, “will come after me, let him deny himself.” Let him pull himself up by the roots. Let him turn away from himself and rely entirely on Christ. This road is for sinners only. If a man has any righteousness of his own, an iota of merit or goodness to which he can lay claim, the other road is for him. That is where the supposedly virtuous make their self-righteous way to perdition. The road of life is for sinners only — sinners whose hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

A woman said to the preacher after listening to a sermon on this subject, “You make me feel so big,” holding her thumb and index finger about a half inch apart. The minister replied, “Lady, that is too big.” John Bunyan wrote in his autobiography that he found this road so narrow that there was room only for body and soul; not for body and soul and sin.

Not only must all who enter here abandon all pride but once they are on it they must agonize all the way to the end of it. It is a narrow road, exacting and confining. It is a road of holiness, and no sin is permitted straight and narrow 2 here. It is for sinners only, to be sure, for those who know that they have no righteousness of their own and who trust in Christ alone. But they must, on this road, prove that they really do trust in Christ. And they prove this only by the striving after holiness. “If ye love,” says the Lord of this road, “keep my commandments.” Those commandments call for perfect holiness in every area of human behavior. Nor is there any time when a person takes a rest from holiness on this road. All the way he must be striving after his Christ who leads the way.

It is a road which calls for daily self-denial and bearing of one’s cross. This is where the eye that offends is plucked out and the arm that offends is cut off. This is where the men of violence overcome every barrier to their progress. This is where men hunger and thirst after more and more progress along this road. This is where men beat their bodies and keep them in subjection. This is where the pilgrim presses ever on and never counts himself to have attained.

(Extract from Theology for Everyman by John H. Gerstner)

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