Mat 7:13-14, 21-24 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it... Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."
The Christian path is a narrow one. It is moderate. It is in the middle of the road. If you veer off too far to either side, you will find yourself in a ditch. A disciple of Christ seeks to maintain that narrow path in life, and makes course corrections along the way if he finds himself getting too far off towards either ditch.
It’s been said that the first manned trips to the moon, the Apollo missions, did not go in a perfectly straight line. They made many course corrections in their journey. They would find themselves veering off one direction, and they would come back to the middle – the right course – to arrive at their destination. Had they not corrected their course when veering off, they would have gotten so far away from the line that they would have missed their destination completely.
So it is with the Christian life. Two ditches – opposite of each other – need to be avoided by the disciple. One ditch is legalism, the other antinomianism (without law). One says you must work for the salvation, love, and acceptance of God; the other says nothing you do matters whatsoever. They are both wrong. Doing good works is a Biblical truth. “Only believe” - faith - is a Biblical truth. However, if you exalt either of them as “The” truth, at the expense of the other; they then become an error.
The proper balance – the narrow path – is that faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone. You cannot work for salvation, but true salvation produces good works. If you are a branch in the good tree, then you will bear good fruit. If there is no fruit, then the branch is withered and dead. If the fruit is bad, then it’s plugged into a bad tree (Mt 7:15-20).
Romans 4 says Abraham was declared righteous by faith. James 2 says he was declared righteous by works. Is the Bible contradictory? Not at all. The narrow path – the balance – lies between these two truths. Abraham was declared righteous by God because he believed; and his belief, trust, and faith in God resulted in his obedience to God in offering his son Isaac. He believed, therefore he did. Had he not done, it would have showed he didn’t believe. Works of faith are the evidence of faith.
It is wrong to say you must work for God’s salvation, love, or approval. It is just as wrong to say that because of God’s grace, I have no responsibility towards Him. It’s not either or. It’s not faith vs. works. They are not enemies. We are to do works becoming of a Christian (Act 26:20). We are created in Christ unto good works (Eph 2:10). At the same time, we cannot be saved by the works of the law (Gal 2:16).
Those on the narrow path know their salvation is a gift from God alone, and cannot in any way be worked for. They also know that because of this saving work God has done in them and for them, they are enabled to live their lives for Him - it no longer being their own life, but Christ’s life in them. Their works spring forth from salvation - not to gain salvation.
If you call yourself a Christian and are void of good works, carnal , and worldly – you need to repent and get on the narrow path. If you call yourself a Christian, and think all you do is earning you acceptance with God – you also need to repent and get on the narrow path. If you are “working hard to get to heaven”, you won’t ever get there. And if your working hard for the devil, you won’t get there, either. The broad path leads to destruction; and the narrow path leads to life everlasting. Give your life to Jesus Christ today, and walk with Him on the narrow path everyday from here on out. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!