Nov 9, 2011

Posted by in Featured Articles, Mike, Spiritual Reflection | 5 Comments

How Broad is the Narrow Road?

How Broad is the Narrow Road?

I found the picture that is attached to this post today.  It depicts a mass amount of people walking down a broad road that leads to a fiery pit and a narrow road that leads to paradise.  The question that I asked myself was, “How broad is the narrow road?”  To be honest, I am not sure.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14

Am I even on the narrow road?  On the outside, my life is not all that different than most everyone I know, Christians and Non-Christians alike.  Privately, I do read the Bible regularly, pray a lot, post on this site, consult God on major decisions, give to the church and other causes, etc. . . but is that the narrow road?  Or is the narrow road  something more radical?  Does it go beyond mainstream waterdowned Christianity?

I believe the narrow road is different for everyone.  I struggle with things that may not bother you, and vice versa.  What do you think your narrow road looks like?  Are you on it?

  1. who’s to say? let me ask this question. how does one get to hell? does a just God determine at judgement day to “punish” you forever? even if at that moment you are begging for forgiveness? OR…do WE ourselves condem ourselves to hell? not feeling ‘worthy’ enough to accept Gods mercy and turning away from Him at that critical hour? free will is an aweful scarey thing!!!!!

  2. I think it’s impossible for any of us, with our limited human understanding, to be able to definitively determine what the narrow road looks like. However, looking to the life of Jesus, and asking ourselves if our deepest desire is to walk as He walked, think as He thought, and react to the world and its’ people as He did, seems to be a good place to start. While I don’t know for sure what the narrow road looks like, I do know that we try to make it wider and wider all the time, even if it means ignoring foundational truths that have been laid out in the scriptures.

    I was thinking about Eric’s comment above and I agree that we do, in fact, condemn ourselves to hell. We choose to honor God as the one true God or we choose to reject Him. We choose to abide by His will or we choose to satisfy our own selfish desires. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17 Unfortunately, for us, we don’t get to choose what thoughts, feelings and attitudes are considered to be wicked. God has already made that righteous judgement and has given us the “heads up” through the scriptures as to what wickedness looks like. We choose eternal life by reaching out and grasping the forgiveness we have all been offered or we choose to take the broad road to death and destruction.
    Unfortunately, I don’t believe, from my recollection, that the scriptures ever give us any indication that there is an opportunity for repentance once we have left this world. However,I certainly believe that God offers all of us the gift of forgiveness through Christ and eternal life, right up until we take our last breath. There are several accounts in the Bible of people rejecting God their whole lives and then in the moment before their death and destruction they come to repentance and receive forgiveness. We see God’s exceedingly great patience and grace through His forgiveness of the thief on the cross and the people of Ninevah in the 11th hour. However, I don’t believe we are given any accounts of people coming to redemption after death. Many of the scriptures regarding hell are worded in such a way that I don’t see how begging at the judgement seat would result in a different outcome. In all the following verses regarding hell, the word cast (to cause to move or send forth by throwing) is used in describing how people enter hell. This seems to indicate to me that there is noone who is going to willingly go there (our human reasoning leads us to ask, who wouldn’t beg for forgiveness when coming face to face with God?) and therefore noone who would be redeemed at the judgment seat. 2Peter 2:4, Luke 12:5, Luke 10:15, Mark 9:45,46, Mathew 5:28,29. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was CAST into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:13-15. Of course, the scriptures can take us a long way toward answering some difficult questions, like how narrow is the narrow road?. As well as, our many questions about hell, but in the end God is God and his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts, so we can not dream that we could put Him in a box. At the end of the day, He’s God and he can choose to do whatever he decides is good, whether it be granting redemption to the man that pleads with Him at the judgement seat or casting the wicked man into hell despite his pleading. He is good and righteous in all His ways!

    Super Super long post! Sorry, but I thought the topic was really interesting. Thank goodness Mike stopped trying to censor us 🙂

  3. lol, yeah thank goodness the freedom of speech is back(but i miss the potential spellcheck).. i like the sentence ‘we can’t put God in a box’, as we sometimes try. a slight spin on what i said previous post. hows this sceniro: a person dies, is facing God, God is saying “come over here i forgive you”, BUT…because we feel ‘unforgivable’…we refuse, thus condeming ourselves??? i really don’t know. one thing for sure, we all fall short but God forgives. guess we just gotta try our best and trust. easier said than done!

  4. “How narrow is the narrow road?” is a great question to debate. I know the original question above is How broad is the narrow road, but the question I keep asking myself is how narrow is the narrow road. Specifically, am I on it, was I ever on it or am I even close to it? Lauren points out some great facts – God is God and he is the one who has already determined what is right and wrong and therefore, who is on the NR and who isn’t.

    Scriptures like Matthew 7:13-14 and others that discuss the idea of a narrow road to heaven used to really trouble me. I mean, most of the people I knew then were going to church, not hurting anyone and said they were Christians and loved God. Same as me. However, as I opened my heart to God and accepted Jesus as my personal savior, things changed. My questions changed. I began to ask – if the road to heaven is described as a narrow road, am I on it? If it is narrow, then does it make sense that everyone I thought was on it before could actually be on it? I began to ask questions about how could a “loving God” allow the road to be so narrow? What did I have to do to stay on it, if I was ever to find it in the first place?
    This topic is one that I could go on and on about as I have spent years praying over these questions and verses. In the end, I really want to be on the narrow road. Don’t you? So the question now turns to – How do I find it? How do I stay on it? and How could I possible help someone else do the same? Again, years spent mulling over these questions, but this where I find myself today. The narrow road is narrow. In fact, it seems to grow more narrow as the Holy Spirit opens my heart up to greater understanding of the scriptures. At first read, that may sound like a harsh reality, but actually it is the coolest thing ever. Here’s why. Jesus paved the narrow road. He showed us where it is and how to stay on it. We can’t expect to find it ourselves or to stay on it by our own efforts. Therefore, we don’t have to work through the great unknown. The map is in our hands each time we pick up the bible. The road may be narrow, but it isn’t like searching for a lost treasure. Through Jesus, we will be shown the road and given the ability to stay the course as long as we submit to Christ in all that we do. Easier said than done, but it is true nonetheless. There are many times in the course of my days, that I see I’ve gotten off the narrow road. Without fail, it is always due to my lack of submission to the Lord. I revert back to my self serving plans, thoughts, goals and decisions. In other words, I take the wheel and drive off the next cliff in life. Thankfully, prayer of forgiveness and repentance leads us back to the right and narrow path. I think our human nature makes things more difficult than they should be. He gave us the answers and even showed us how to get there through the life/example of Jesus Christ. We simply need to turn on the GPS of life (bible) and follow the directions.

  5. I have recently concluded a study of the Mathew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:24 verses And wrote this brief paper: Is Jesus the Narrow Way?

    The following passages are usually taken as Jesus speaking of Himself being the narrow door or narrow gate. But Consider that the narrow gate and door is Judaism.

    Matt 7:12 All those things, then, which you would have men do to you, even so do you to them: because this is the law and the prophets.
    V. 13 Go in by the narrow door; for wide is the door and open is the way which goes to destruction and great numbers go in by it.
    V. 14 for narrow is the door and hard the road to life and only a small number
    make discovery of it.
    Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
    1.) Neither Jesus nor the Scripture call Jesus ‘the narrow gate or difficult way.’
    Many times in Scripture Jesus describes Himself with the words “I AM…”
    John 6:51:”I AM the living bread.”
    John 8:12: I AM the light of the world.”
    John 10:9: “I AM the door.”
    John 10:11: “I AM the good shepherd.”
    John 15:1: “I AM the true vine.”
    But Jesus never says “I AM the narrow gate.” Or “I AM the difficult way.” He could’ve called himself any of these but He did not. He says He Is The Only Way, but never the Narrow, Difficult, Hidden Way.
    2.) Would any doctrine change had He clearly stated He was the door, gate, or way we should work to enter?
    If we read these verses as though He spoke of Himself that would mean He taught that salvation is a result of working hard yet still not making it. They could read something like this:
    Luke 13:24 “I AM the narrow gate. Strive to enter in by me, the narrow gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in by me and shall not be able.
    Matt 7:14 “Narrow is the door and hard the road to life. I AM the narrow door and only a small number find Me.”
    This is salvation by keeping the Law.
    3.) Might something change if one believes Jesus isn’t the narrow way, but that Judaism is?
    Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi speaking to Jews. In Matt.7:12 He is talking to Jews. He came for the Jews. Matthew 10:5-6; Matthew 15:24.
    So, if Jesus is not the narrow, difficult gate and path and we can put these terms within the religious timeframe in which they were spoken a great shift in our view of His work on the cross will occur. The relentless pursuit of God for us and His constant desire for relationship with us can finally make sense. Luke 14: 16-23 can take on a new light as His servants compel many to come. Not just a few. This change of perspective can help us see that we can easily become His children and run into His wide open arms.
    The gate has been made easily accessible by Jesus. He made the gate and the path open to everyone when, at His death the VEIL, which separated everyone from God, WAS TORN DOWN from top to bottom.
    2Cor 3:14 but (the Jews) minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth, it not being revealed to them that It Is Done Away In Christ.!
    2Cor 3:15 “but unto this day, whensoever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart.” There is no veil. The barrier between God and man is gone! We can now see God as the Prodigal Son’s Father. He watches for all to come to Him. When we do He runs toward us.
    Bob Collins
    ©2012

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