In one of Jesus’ parables He tells us that as we travel along life’s journey we will need to choose one of two roads to travel down – a wide road or a narrow road! Let’s listen to what Jesus says: “Enter through the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
There are two roads or two ways to react to the truth we find in Scripture, - the truth that Jesus will remove our sins and cover us with His goodness. The truth that Jesus is all goodness and He is the Way to eternal life. The gates are our choices. And the most important choice you can ever make is to follow Jesus. Those who choose to follow Jesus go through the small gate and walk the narrow road. And those who choose not to follow Jesus go through the wide gate and walk on the wide or broad road.
The wide road, is for folks who are trying to be good enough on their own. Others are also on the wide road. Those who don’t believe in God’s judgment are traveling the wide road along with those who don’t believe in God at all. The wide road is wide enough to take in any belief or any non-belief that leaves Jesus the Son of God out. Perhaps God will judge the people who never have the chance to hear of Jesus by how they obey their conscience and how they accept the truths they do see. I don’t know.
The folks who try to work their way to heaven on their own travel that wide road with many others. But folks who think they can be good enough to please God have problems. They get exhausted and still never make it. First they try to stop doing bad things. Then they try to do more good things. Love problem people. Don’t think bad thoughts. Obey the Ten Commandments. Can’t keep them all? Try harder. Treat people nice. Don’t gossip. Be faithful. Give money to the poor. Pray and be spiritual. Don’t get angry. Look around and see that they are better than some others. Feel proud and judgmental. How many good things must they do to earn eternal life?
God expects so much! Perfection is such a high standard! Doesn’t Scripture say if we break one of God’s commands then we break them all! (James 2:10) For every step forward they slip two steps backward! They try harder. Nose to the grindstone. They’re exhausted trying. Never make God’s perfect standard on their own! They fall short! What can they do? There is no joy for those who walk the do-good road, because enough is never enough.
Jesus says that “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18) And Jesus, who is God the Son, and also the Son of God, is our only standard of true goodness. We are trying so hard to be “good enough” but Scripture says that only Jesus is good enough. And Jesus will exchange His goodness and His righteousness for our sin! What an exchange! The Bible says: “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
We are so tired of trying to be good and failing when we finally read the Bible and we are drawn to this Jesus who calls out to everyone with His invitation. Here it is: “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Only God can take away sins but the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Son of God. And He is God the Son. If Jesus was just a super man and not God He couldn’t take away sin. These are Jesus’ words about Himself: “All things have been committed to Me by my Father. No one knows the Son except through the Father, and no one knows the Father except through the Son, and those who the Son chooses to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)
We are drawn to Jesus and we come to Him. The narrow road is that joyful road where we start out on it and go through the small gate by choosing to accept Jesus’ invitation. We want to turn from our sins. (1 John 1;9) And then we take part in the “great exchange.” Jesus takes our sins and we are given His righteousness.
He gives us His Holy Spirit and we are “in Jesus”. He is the “Vine” and we are the “branches”. (John 15:5) He is now working in us and taking care of us. We can feel the difference. We are no longer alone on the broad road trying to earn eternal life, when we never can. We still sin but He forgives and works in us to want to do good.
Doing good and following Jesus go together. We don’t do good to be accepted by God: instead, because we are accepted and loved by God, we do good. We now follow Jesus and we are being led by Jesus. We have rest in our souls. We are traveling on the glory road and it’s leading to the Glory Land! It doesn’t get any better than that!