In Matthew 7:14 – Jesus said, “… strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
While Jesus was nailed to the cross, the thief on His right who earlier had been cursing Him now said; “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Considering that the thief had little to offer in the way of righteous actions we get a clear picture of the mercy of God. Would we say that He is too merciful?
When Jesus said that He wanted the children to come to Him and then held them, or when (to the horror of the religious professionals) He actually touched the leper and healed him and at another time cried at the death of His friend Lazarus, we see God’s tenderness in these three instances. Would we say that He is too tender?
When Jesus uttered His last words on the cross and implored His Father to, “Forgive them, for they know now what they do,” would we say that God is too forgiving?
Jesus said, “There is no greater love than laying down your life for a friend.” First He said it, then He did it. Would we think that He is too loving?
And finely, when Jesus offers adoption into His eternal family simply for the cost of a person’s will, do we feel that He is too generous?
Mankind generally has no problem with God’s love, forgiveness, tenderness, and such. But when it comes to the narrow terms of His offer, specifically that “Jesus is the only way” now there is a problem. God’s way of salvation is “too narrow,” there must be other ways. After all, “all paths lead to God.” The notion of “all paths” is not in the Bible. It is entirely mankind’s invention, however there is some truth in it. The Bible says that after mortal death there is an appearance by everyone in God’s courtroom… so in that sense all paths do lead to God. But what happens next is the real issue. Will you hear, “enter in” or “depart from Me?”
In an instinctive sense that we seem to be programmed with, we expect that transgressions will be judged and that rapists, murderers and thieves will “get theirs.” You see this basic theme played out over and over in our movies. The good guys or the good principle will in the end be exonerated and celebrated. On the other hand, the bad guy’s evil deeds will be exposed and they will be killed (in some horrifically pleasing way corresponding with their evil) or hauled away. Rarely in the movies does the evil figure win. Why is that? Because if evil wins our conscience is troubled by the injustice. We would likely leave the movie with an unsettled and conflicted feeling. We might reluctant to go see movies anymore if they make us feel that way.
So, on one hand we have a longing for justice (especially when it was a personal offense) but when justice applies to us, we’re hoping for the rules to be bit more lax and we wish to be graded on the curve. Sorry for this news flash, God has a “zero tolerance” for rebellion and why not, it’s His plan and His doing. The way I look at it is this:
1. Since God created me, what do I owe Him? I think I owe Him everything.
2. He is completely righteous and I am not (not even close).
3. He is perfect in justice and because of that my sin cannot be “shined on” or ignored.
4. God lovingly sends His most valuable treasure, His Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect sin-free life that qualified Him to be my stand-in for punishment.
5. Jesus submits Himself fully to mankind’s evil, laying down His life for my reconciliation with God.
6. Jesus rises from the dead proclaiming victory over evil and death and Hell.
As a result:
Mankind individually can be saved from eternal separation from God, if they want to.
God’s love and mercy for mankind is demonstrated.
God has experienced first-hand how it is to be one of us. This greatly enhances our eternal fellowship.
God’s perfect judgment remains intact; the penalty for rebellion has been paid.
Millions like me who have accepted God’s generous offer are adopted into His eternal family and evermore shall be with Him.
I hope that you, dear reader, might begin to understand some of the loving attributes of our Creator and the extremes He has gone through to save mankind. He is so merciful,
tender, forgiving, loving and generous in His actions for us. Please don’t limit your focus on a “narrow way” mindset because what God has done is so much broader than that. The “way and gate” might be “narrow” but it is certainly wide enough to accommodate anyone, if they choose to receive His offer.