Matthew 7 – Destruction or Safety

The statement by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 is one of the hardest in the Bible for people to wrap their minds around.  He tells us:

“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. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Why is that difficult for many to accept?  The argument goes that since God is loving, He would never reject anyone.  “My god is a god of love.  He would never send anyone to Hell.”  Notice I don’t capitalize god here; that’s because people have conjured a god of their own making from their imaginations and desires.  They don’t worship the God of the Bible.

In fact, God does not reject anyone.  People choose to reject Him.  That choice is what leads to their eternity in Hell.  When a person strays from the Word of God and doesn’t sit under solid Biblical teaching, he is open to false teaching.  G.K. Chesterton said: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

From that openness to believe in anything comes the false teachers and their diseased doctrine that Jesus speaks of in the next several verses beginning with Matthew 7:15-16:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits… ”

But the question becomes: How will you recognize the false fruit if you don’t know what is true and good fruit?  Only those of us who read and study God’s Word are able to do that.  You’ve likely heard what they say about how IRS Treasury agents are trained to discern counterfeit bills: they study only real ones.  That gives them the eye and feel to root out the false money.  So it is with us.

This leads to Jesus’ Words that follow in Matthew 7:21-23 where He warns:

“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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Many people who walk the wide road toward destruction get on this journey that ends with Jesus telling them how God doesn’t know them by listening to the false prophets, believing the lies they tell, and choosing to trust their deceptive words because they have never made the effort to dig into Scripture to truly know who God is and what He wants for each of us.

This is exactly why Jesus follows all this up in Matthew 7:24-27 by urging us to be “like a wise man who built his house on a rock.”  Our rock is Jesus Christ and the Words He gave us to know Him more fully.

If we don’t forsake Him and His Word, He will never forsake us.

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