The Narrow Gate To Life And The Broad Path To Destruction

The Narrow Gate To Life And The Broad Path To Destruction February 21, 2018

The Bible says a lot about salvation, mostly that it’s only through Christ that we can be saved, so here are Bible verses about salvation that reveal it’s open to all, but it’s not the broad path many people think it is.

Repentance and Faith

Jesus best described the gospel of the Kingdom of God in Mark 1:15 when He began His earthly ministry and said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled,” meaning the age of grace had come but it comes only through trust in Christ. Today, if you hear His voice, or the Spirit’s call, don’t harden your heart (2 Cor 6:2), because if you were to die or Christ returns before trusting in Him, there is no time left to repent and believe. This is no time to sit on the fence and think about it because those who wait on the fence will be judged along with those who openly reject Christ today, so “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Why not “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [and] you will be saved” (Rom 10:9)?

The Narrow Road

Years ago, when I briefly lived in Arkansas, there was an old winding dirt road that went up Bernie Mountain in northwest Arkansas. The road was dangerously steep and curvy but there was no other way up the mountain, at least by car, so as hard, narrow, and steep as that road was, we had no choice but to take it. It was the only way. We didn’t’ really complain about the road because we knew it was the only way up to our home, so in similar fashion, Jesus says, quite specifically, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). God offers the free gift of eternal life, but it’s not just any way but Jesus is “the  way,” just as the Apostle Paul wrote, that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Obviously, this means “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5), so finding the narrow path to eternal life is not by works, but by what Christ did in His life and His death and His resurrection.

 

The Broad Path

Since the Bible states, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), this rules out any other human source or power by which we can be saved to eternal life. Tragically, Jesus says that not everyone who “says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21), but “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Jesus says to all that we must “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” (Matt 7:13). If you look around the world, it doesn’t appear that most of the world has trusted in Christ, so naturally, the path that leads away from Christ and toward destruction is broad. If only few, comparatively, have trusted in Christ, the path or road doesn’t have to be as broad. You don’t build four-lane highways where a county road is because there’s not that much traffic. The narrow path or gate to eternal life is passed through, single-file, and no one gets in on the coattails of another, however, the path or gate to destruction is wide. That’s why many will say, “Lord, Lord,” and not a few, and those same “many” will be turned away at the time of their judgment (Matt 7:21-23).

For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Matt 7:13).

The Man of Salvation

There is not really a plan of salvation as much as there is a Man of Salvation, and that is Jesus Christ. When the jailer spoke to the Apostle Peter and Silas about being saved, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family” (Acts 16:30-31). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), so even though the way is narrow, and it only goes through Jesus Christ (John 6:44), it is still open to all (John 3:16). Jesus says, whoever comes to Him, He will “give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). The psalmist puts it well in writing “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame [but] they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous” (Psalm 25:3). On the day of His visitation, the one who puts their trust in Christ will hear His master say to him or her, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21).

Conclusion

The gate may be small and the way may be narrow, but at least there is a way, so to complain that there is only one way and the way is narrow, is like complaining that there’s only one emergency exit out of a building on fire. Escaping the fire is only possible through a fire escape, and it’s typically narrower than the doors that everyone came in through, but people don’t care that it’s narrow when there’s a fire. They’re just glad there is a way out, narrow or not, because at least there is a way. Jesus is still and always be the only way of escape from the wrath of God (John 3:36b), for “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom 10:11), so clearly, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)? The answer to that question determines which path you will take and where you will end up, and there you will stay, for time without end.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    Who cares what some ancient book written by no name authors thousands of years ago says? Why should anyone care about a crappy work of religiously psychotic so called literature?

    OH NO!!! Believe in superstitious nonsense or else!!

    WRATH!!

    OH NO!!!!

    Sure convinced me!! I’m going to make myself “believe” in invisible jesus starting next week! LOOK BUSY!! Here he comes!!

    • Liz

      Well, one excellent reason to care what the Bible says is that this “crappy work of religiously psychotic so called literature” contains the only accurate predictive prophesy ever discovered. History and archaeology bear this out. It literally has and does predict the future.

      A second excellent reason is that, while there are many historical claims that have yet to be corroborated, every time an ancient artifact or site is unearthed and which corresponds to a biblical claim the biblical claim is proved to be accurate. It is hard to imagine producing a book that is completely historically accurate in everything and yet the spiritual content woven inseparably throughout is all bunk.

      A third excellent reason is that the Bible is, quite simply, the best attested ancient work in existence…by far. There are no legitimate scholars, whether secular or religious, who deny this. No other ancient work even comes close to being as well supported by manuscript evidence.

      A fourth excellent reason is that it was written by 40 separate people with a wide range of social, economic, cultural and religious experience over a period of 1,500 years and it maintains both broad thematic integrity and harmony within the details.

      In each of these four things and in many other areas the Bible stands untouchable and completely alone. This is not a faith claim. It is demonstrable, historical fact.

      I’m not trying to sell you a bill of goods or make you believe the spiritual content: I can’t make you believe and you can’t make yourself believe. All you can do is drop all assumptions and honestly investigate. If you are willing to look for truth and willing to let truth change your worldview you can find it. One of the promises written in this “crappy work” is that you will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart. The Gospel of John is a good place to start, if you are interested.

      • pud

        LOL! There are NO prophesies only delusional gullible people who “believe” in what they’re told by other delusional gullible people

        • Liz

          This is still me but i replied under my wife’s heading at first….sorry, I’m kind of a computer moron (according to my daughter).

          I think you may be ill informed. There are plenty of fulfilled prophesies and name calling is no kind of valid debate tactic. Here’s one:

          Ezekiel
          wrote in the 6th century BC and prophesied about the Phoenician city of
          Tyre. The date of it is well established in both biblical and secular
          history. The 2nd deportation of captives from Judea to Babylon took
          place in 597 BC and there are Chaldean (Babylonian) documents that
          firmly establish the date. Ezekiel reports his prophesy being given in
          the 11th year of that captivity and so the date of his prophesy is
          firmly established as 586 BC. Even secular historians don’t really
          debate this.

          The existence of the city of Tyre is also firmly
          established in multiple historical sources. It existed, without any
          doubt, in Ezekiel’s time and is reported in some sources to have been
          established as far back as perhaps 2700 BC. It consisted of a mainland
          city and an island city and was massively prosperous due to it’s ideal
          location at the confluence of many land and sea trade routes. The
          island city was known to be virtually unassailable.

          Ezekiel’s
          prophesy against Tyre is summed up as follows. Because Tyre took an
          attitude of rejoicing over Jerusalem’s demise God declared:
          1) Many
          nations will come against Tyre and break down it’s walls and towers.
          It’s dust would be scraped up, leaving bare rock and it would become a
          place for the spreading of nets in the sea.
          2) Nebuchadnezzar would come against Tyre and lay siege. He will kill the people and destroy the buildings.
          3) The city will be plundered and the rubble and soil of the city will be thrown into the sea.
          4) Tyre would never be rebuilt.
          Nebuchadnezzar
          besieged the city for 13 years starting in 585 BC or so according to
          Jewish and Phoenician records. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland
          city but was unable to conquer the island city and the siege ended with
          only a nominal surrender. The island city fell in subsequent years under the rule
          of many nations including Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Syria. Most
          notably, in 332 BC Alexander the Great took the mainland city,
          demolished it’s remains and built a causeway out to the island city
          using all the debris and soil from Old Tyre. Alexander the Great put
          most of the resident’s of Tyre to death and burned much of the city. The island city has been rebuilt and stands to this day but the mainland city, which was the object of the prophesy, is underwater.

          There
          are many more details to both the prophesy and the fulfillment but it
          is notable that Alexander’s causeway building tactic appears to be the
          first ever in recorded war history and Ezekiel accurately predicted it
          250 years ahead of time.

          • pud

            You clearly have no concept of the warped twisted made up interpretations given by people who desperately want to offer up any shred of evidence to support their nonsensical cult doctrines. You most likely also don’t really care.

            https://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/all-biblical-prophecy-is-baloney/

            https://infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html

          • pud

            And if you don’t care enough to do proper research…

            EZEKIEL’S FAILURES
            Possibly the most pessimistic of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel proclaimed impending doom upon everyone from Judah itself to the enemy nations surrounding it. The failure of his prophecies to materialize as he predicted makes a compelling argument against the Bible inerrancy doctrine. In one of his doom’s-day prophecies, Egypt was to experience forty years of utter desolation:

            Therefore, thus says Yahweh God: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am Yahweh, because he said, `The River is mine, and I have made it.’ Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries” (29:8-14).
            Talk about extravagant rhetoric, we certainly have it in this passage. No such desolation has ever happened to Egypt; there never has been a time in recorded history when Egypt was not inhabited by man or beast for forty years, when its cities were laid waste and desolate, when its people were all dispersed to foreign lands, etc. Bible defenders, of course, resort quickly to figurative and future applications, but their strategy just won’t work. Future fulfillments are excluded by patently clear references that Ezekiel made to contemporary characters who were to figure in the fulfillment: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him” (29:2). Although Egypt still survives as a nation, its rule by pharaohs ended long ago. Furthermore, Ezekiel identified Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, as the instrument Yahweh would use to bring about Egypt’s desolation: “Therefore thus says Yahweh God: `Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage, and that will be the wages for his army'” (29:19). Clearly, then, Ezekiel had in mind a contemporary fulfillment of this prediction. As for spiritual or figurative explanations of the prophecy, just what events in Egyptian history were so catastrophic in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and the pharaohs that they could justifiably be considered a figurative desolation of forty years? Unless bibliolaters can identify such a catastrophe, their figurative interpretations must be regarded as just more attempts to sweep aside another embarrassing prophecy failure.

            Ezekiel just as rashly predicted the utter destruction of Tyre, a prediction whose failure has become even more embarrassing to bibliolaters than his doom’s-day prophecy against Egypt:

            Therefore thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,” says Yahweh God; “it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am Yahweh.”
            For thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, you shall never be rebuilt, for I Yahweh have spoken,” says Yahweh God (26:3-14).

            Ezekiel’s tirade against Tyre continued through three chapters. His prediction was that the city’s destruction would be complete and permanent: “The merchants among the peoples will hiss at you; you will become a horror, and be no more forever” (27:36). So sure was he of Tyre’s eternal destruction that he repeated it: “All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you: you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (28:19).

            That this prophecy was never fulfilled can be verified with no more difficulty than a trip to the public library. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and that “you (Tyre) shall never be rebuilt” (26:14) and “shall be no more, though you are sought for, you will never be found again” (26:21). History, however, records the fact that Nebuchadnezzar not only didn’t destroy Tyre, he didn’t even capture it. The New Encyclopedia Britannica (Micropedia, Vol. 10, 1978) said this in reviewing the long history of Tyre:

            … and in 585-573 (B.C.) it successfully withstood a prolonged siege by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II (p. 223).
            In its summation of this same period of Tyrian history, The Encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 27, 1984) says:

            The neo-Babylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a 13-year siege (585-572) without success (p. 331, emphasis added).
            Nebuchadnezzar did capture the mainland suburb of Tyre, but he never succeeded in taking the island part, which was the seat of Tyrian grandeur. That being so, it could hardly be said that Nebuchadnezzar wreaked the total havoc on Tyre that Ezekiel vituperatively predicted in the passages cited.

            Even Ezekiel himself admitted the failure of this prophecy. Three chapters after predicting the everlasting destruction of Tyre, Ezekiel, as he often did in his prophecies, dated a long tirade against Egypt: “And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of Yahweh came to me…” (29:17). There is no general agreement on the interpretation of Ezekiel’s dating system, but at least we can use it to determine when one prophecy was made with reference to another. For example, his prophecy against Tyre was made in “the eleventh year, on the first day of the month,” (26:1). If, then, the prophecy against Egypt in chapter 29 was made in the 27th year (whatever that year was), this would mean that sixteen years separated the prophecy against Tyre in chapter 26 and the one against Egypt in chapter 29. Ezekiel’s doom’s-day prophecies against the nations surrounding Judah were apparently motivated by their delight in the fall of Jerusalem, which occurred in 587 B. C., because he often mentioned this as the reason why Yahweh was pronouncing judgment against them (25:3-4, 6, 8; 26:2). Obviously, then, these doom’s-day prophecies had to have been made after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B. C., so even if Ezekiel’s prediction of Tyre’s destruction was made as quickly as the day after the fall of Jerusalem, his prophecy against Egypt, which (as noted above) came 16 years later, could not have been made before 571 B. C. By then, Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre, which lasted from 585-572 B. C., was over, and Ezekiel would have known that his prediction had failed.

            His prophecy against Egypt did show a clear awareness that he had botched his prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would decimate Tyre:

            “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it. Therefore thus says Yahweh God: `Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army'” (29:18-19).
            This statement referred to Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre as a completed act, which of course by this time it would have been (as the chronological analysis above clearly proves). That being true, it necessarily follows that the book of Ezekiel could not have been written, at least not in its entirety, until after the siege of Tyre was over. To say the least, then, serious questions must be raised about Ezekiel’s credentials as a bona fide prophet. A prophet who completed his book after the facts he had prophesied about! What kind of prophet was that? And, in Ezekiel’s case, we have a prophet who apparently didn’t even have the good judgment to go back and revise his predictions after unfolding events had proven them wrong. Are we supposed to see this as compelling evidence that the Bible was inspired of God?

            Furthermore, Ezekiel’s prophecy against Egypt frankly admitted Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to destroy Tyre. It plainly said that Nebuchadnezzar and his army “had no wages” for their “labor” against Tyre. As a result, Yahweh, according to this prophecy, had decided to award Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as payment for his services: “Therefore thus says the Sovereign Yahweh: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off her multitude, and take her plunder, and take her prey: and that will be the wages for his army” (29:19). Strangely enough, Ezekiel was admitting in this statement that his prophecy against Tyre had failed, for if Nebuchadnezzar had taken the island part of the city, he surely would have carried off its multitude, taken its plunder, and taken its prey, and these would have been his “wages.” If one wonders why a man claiming divinely endowed prophetic powers would make a prediction and then three chapters later admit that his prediction had failed, I can only say what I said before: stranger things than this can be found in the Bible.

            Some bibliolaters have tried to mitigate the failure of Ezekiel’s Tyre prophecy by extending its scope beyond Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the Great, who did succeed in capturing the island part of Tyre in 332 B.C. But this ploy won’t work. Ezekiel clearly identified Nebuchadnezzar as the avenging instrument that Yahweh would use to bring about a total, everlasting destruction of Tyre. If Alexander the Great was to be a part of the scenario, why didn’t Ezekiel name him too? After all, Ezekiel was a prophet, and prophets can see into the future, can’t they? Inerrantists delight in pointing to 1 Kings 13:2 where a prophet allegedly mentioned Josiah by name almost 300 years before he was born and to Isaiah’s alleged references to Cyrus by name over 100 years before he was born, so if Ezekiel had meant for his Tyre prophecy to include Alexander the Great as Yahweh’s instrument of destruction, why didn’t he refer to him by name? If other “prophets of God” could pull off amazing feats like these, why couldn’t Ezekiel? Why would the predictive talents of one inspired prophet of God have been so consummately inferior to others’?

            Even if bibliolaters could somehow prove that Ezekiel had intended Alexander the Great to be a part of the prophecy against Tyre, they would still have to explain why the complete and everlasting destruction of the city did not happen as predicted. Most assuredly, nothing comparable to the scope of destruction predicted occurred at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, and although Alexander the Great did succeed in capturing the island part of the city, Tyre by no means ceased to exist after this conquest. In The History of Tyre, Wallace B. Fleming said this of the city’s defeat by Alexander:

            Alexander then left the city which was half burnt, ruined, and almost depopulated. The blackened forms of two thousand crucified soldiers bore ghastly witness to the completeness of the conquest. The siege had lasted from the middle of January till the middle of July, 332 B.C. The city did not lie in ruins long. Colonists were imported and citizens who had escaped returned. The energy of these with the advantage of the site, in a few years raised the city to wealth and leadership again (Columbia University Press: New York, 1915, p. 64, emphasis added).
            So Ezekiel predicted that Tyre would “be no more forever,” but, to the embarrassment of Bible inerrantists, it just didn’t happen that way. Tyre existed after Ezekiel in the days of Jesus, who “withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon” at one time during his personal ministry (Matt. 15:21), and it existed in the time of the Apostle Paul, who, returning from one of his missionary journeys, stopped there, found disciples, and tarried with them seven days (Acts 21:3). In fact, Tyre still exists today, as anyone able to read a map can verify. This obvious failure of a highly touted Old Testament prophet is just one more nail in the coffin of the Bible inerrancy doctrine.

          • mike

            The prophesy is possibly against the mainland city only as reflected in some translations (26:6). The word often translated ‘daughters’ allows for a meaning of village and the word often translated ‘field’ allows for a meaning of mainland but this does not have to be the case, it’s just sort of a side note if you’re interested.

            You’ve obviously read extensively but it’s also important to read carefully.

            Verse 3 says that many nations will accomplish the predicted destruction. Verses 7-11 outline Nebuchadnezzar’s role in what is a larger prophesy. Note the use of the masculine singular pronoun ‘he’ which is used to include all of the Babylonian host (except where they refers specifically to all the horses). In verse 12 the pronoun changes generally to ‘they’ and this indicates a return to the many nations of the prophesy. Many nations (including Babylon and Greece) came against Tyre and it fell finally to the Moslems in 1291.

            Ezekiel’s later recognition of Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to be amply compensated for his efforts is not an admission of prophetic failure since the prophesy was inclusive of many nations. It is simply a matter of fact acknowledgement that he spent great wealth and effort on a 13 year seige in which he failed to procure the wealth of the island city. It was a net loss for him. The prophetic elements specifically designated for him in verses 7-11 we’re amply fulfilled.

            The original island city is now underwater and, though a modern city now stands near the mainland ruins, the original mainland site remains unbuilt.

          • pud

            More likely it’s “probably” whatever you want to read into it so you can continue “believing” the ridiculous unsupported nonsense that you desperately want to “believe”

          • mike

            I believe I was pretty clear that the possibility was just an aside if you were interested but that there was no necessity for it to be the case in regards to the specifics of the prophesy we are considering.