Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Matthew 7:13-14 Two Roads

One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. His poem “Two Roads” is really beautiful and in my opinion deeply profound. As we live our lives we make choices and those choices have consequences. Now, some of those choices are pretty mundane and immaterial—Do I wear a bow-tie to work or not? The consequence to that might be that I look like a geek. However, some choices we make have eternal consequences. Jesus, in these last verses, makes plain from the imagery He uses that He has presented His audience with a choice. Will they follow God, recognizing their spiritual bankruptcy and desperately cry out for the righteousness that only comes from faith or will they try the Pharisees brand of “do it yourself” religion and try to make it to God on their own terms.

The scenario couldn’t be more clearly marked out than the choices Christ lays out in these verses. There is a “narrow gate” and a “wide gate”. Christ commands His listeners to enter by the narrow gate. The path to salvation through faith in Christ is narrow. Now matter how many people want to be ecumenical and open minded about how a person can get saved by claiming “It doesn’t matter what you believe”, Christ declares the way to salvation to be narrow. It is narrow because there is one God, one Savior, one Way for a person to be right with God, and one gospel. People do not decide what truth is—God has revealed truth in the pages of scripture. Truth, by it’s very nature, is narrow and specific. If something is true, then anything that does not match that truth is by definition false. Since there is only one truth that saves, the way is salvation is very narrow.

In contrast, if one chooses to go on the other road, they will have plenty of company. This gate is “wide” and the way is “broad”. It’s an easier path and a popular one. There are “many who enter through” this gate. If someone wanted to go along with the crowd and be accepted, this would be the way to go but there is a catch. While the road is easy since it is unencumbered by all that sticky doctrine and truth, the final destination is “destruction”. The word “destruction” does not mean annihilation or that the person is going to cease to exist. Rather, it is the same word that is translation “perdition” when speaking of Judas Iscariot—it means “ruin” or “waste”. There is a final destination for those who choose to reject the narrow path offered in the Bible that leads to salvation. It is to be utterly ruined with no hope of recovery. It is a sad state where a person suffers forever and ever with no relief for all eternity. The way looks easy and comfortable. In truth, it is easier and more comfortable than taking up a cross daily to follow Christ and choosing to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. However, the wide road must be rejected. To choose that path has eternal, soul damning consequences.

In contrast, the road that leads to life is “narrow”—there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. This will not be the popular path because there are only a “few who find it”. However, this way leading to life includes days of persecution, grief, testing, ridicule, and mistreatment—and that’s just from the folks who call themselves Christians to say nothing of how the world will react.

However, the choice Christ makes is clear. Choose the easy way. Relax if you want to. Take it easy, friend, and you will seal your eternal doom. If you want to save your life, if you want to follow Christ as a disciple be prepared for a hard road. The perils of the life of faith are not for the faint of heart and they are certainly not for those who refuse to enter eternal life by the only means possible—faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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