The road less traveled

Jesus drew an analogy about life. He said everyone is traveling down a certain road. Some people take one road while others take a different road. Two factors appear. What is the road like? What are the people like that take a particular road?

Jesus said that most people take the wide road; few take a narrow road. And what are those people like and what makes the difference in their decision? Jesus also gives us the impression that the people who take the narrow road are more devout and dedicated to God. Conversely, the wide road people prefer earthly pleasures without any intention to surrender to God. Several times in his ministry Jesus speculated how few people would be on the narrow road.

In an effort to answer Jesus, let us refer to the Roman Road written by the apostle Paul. Using that road, he defined who those people would be on the narrow road leading to eternal life in heaven.

To define what people would be on what road we must first recognize the similarity that they all have as a spiritual affliction called sin. In Romans 3:23 Paul warned us, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means every single human being has the same problem as every other single human being- sin. It is the affliction. It is a disease. It is a deformity. It is what separates us from God.

Because we can do nothing about the biggest problem of all humanity, God stepped in to rescue us. God did not want any person to remain in this terrible situation. He wanted every single person to have the opportunity to travel the narrow road which leads to eternal life. The only way to solve our problem was for God to do it through his son Jesus Christ when he died on the cross. Romans 5: 6 says, “for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Verse eight says, “but God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Then verse ten says, “for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” We cannot bring spiritual life onto ourselves with good works. It took Christ to save us.

It is wise for all of us that we should understand that sin is a spiritual cancer. There is a major consequence to having sin in our lives unaddressed. We can assume that it is acceptable to God for us merely to live a good life, but that is not what cures this disease. There are many people who have an outward view of their bodies as handsome or beautiful but inwardly the physical cancer was eating away at them until their death. That is the same thing with spiritual cancer. We may be good and kind people but unless we have addressed the major problem we will still die from that illness in our souls. Romans 6:23 says, “for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

For a similar illustration of the predicament of mankind, let us draw on the judicial system. The person that is a criminal will first be arrested and then taken before the judge. With the preponderance of evidence, the person is condemned. Now let us return to the problem of sin. We not only have a spiritual disease, but we also have an unpaid debt that has brought us to the place of being criminals before God. We all owe God for his kindness and generosity even in providing the daily necessities of life. We have committed spiritual crimes that have alienated us from him. Since we are guilty, our destiny is in the hands of the judge. Romans 8:1 brings the answer to us by saying, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.” Here again are the two roads we discussed in the beginning. Either we walk the road after the flesh, or we walk the narrower road that is after the spirit. Jesus took this condemnation on himself by being crucified in our behalf on the cross. When we accept his substitution for ourselves, a dynamic spiritual experience occurs.

The way to access that substitution of Christ is also in the book of Romans chapter 10. Verses 9 and 10 that says, “if thou shalt confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. “In other words, we must confess to God that we are guilty of having this spiritual disease eating away at our souls. We have contributed to that disease by the behaviors and attitudes that we have maintained that put ourselves in that predicament. There must be a verbal confession that the person becomes a believer earnestly and deeply within his heart. Our belief takes this to the righteousness of Christ when by confessing we gain our own personal salvation.

To make a confession with our mouth and then to declare that we believe can be deeply sincere or very shallow. The difference is our intention. It is a matter of surrendering ourselves to God for his good blessings. By doing that our future is not only secured for eternity, but it is also a blessed practice in this life. Romans 12: 1,2 says, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” So, once we have made confession and once, we have declared our belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then the rest of our life is a walk of our own sacrifice. That sacrifice is to resist the temptation of sin which is certainly reasonable considering what Christ did for us. Therefore, on a daily basis we seek to be conformed to God by the renewing of our thinking and behavior. Our goal would be to put God ahead of everything else in our thoughts and decisions. So, there are two roads in this life that lead to an ultimate destination in the next life. We can take ourselves on the broad road by our own decision and desires without any efforts or surrender of self to God. To walk on the narrow road means to realign ourselves to God in confession and faith for what Christ did for us. This is a reunion of the creature with the creator

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