Not So Random Thoughts 29

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy

What may not be obvious to people from the immediate context is that the narrow gate is really Christ. It is Christ that we must go through to enter onto the road that leads to life. It is Christ that we must have and it is Christ who must be in us if we are to have life. The gate is narrow because Christ is the only way to the Father. The gate is narrow because those who trust in themselves are not trusting in Christ alone. The most important part of faith is Christ Himself. The truly converted soul is a soul that has Christ and true faith comes from the Spirit of Christ, is fixed on Christ, and is united to Christ. Faith is not a human work and is not the result of the human free-will, but instead faith comes from a new heart which is a believing heart that is united to and fixed on Christ Himself.

True conversion is not the result of a man who wills or a man who runs. True faith is not the result of a man who wills it or works it up. True faith comes from a God who has mercy on whom He has mercy and true faith is His work and not the work of man. The Gospel of grace alone does not teach us that man is to look for faith in himself so that God will respond to that faith and save him, but instead it teaches us that God saves sinners by grace alone from beginning to end and that includes faith. Christ has purchased true faith for His people and part of that is that He has purchased the Spirit for His people and His work guarantees Himself to His people.

There is a narrow gate, yes, but that does not set us on a path of rigid works by the strength of self. It should teach us that we must die to self and the works of self. It teaches us that we must have Christ alone and that really and truly means that we must have Him alone by grace alone. It is a mockery of the Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone to make it contingent on man coming up with faith himself. The fleshly nature of man cannot please God and so the fleshly nature of man cannot come up with a true faith which God will respond to and save man. We are told that apart from Christ we can do nothing (bear spiritual fruit and please God), so why do we think that we can come up with faith that pleases God? No, the gate is narrow and it is Christ Himself who is our gate.

The soul must truly be turned and become as a child in order to enter the kingdom. But again this shows us that there is a narrow gate or a narrow way to enter. Salvation is not obtained by any work and that includes the work of becoming a child. The soul must be humbled by the hand of God in order to become like a child, but the soul must be like a child in order to receive all from Christ. The child-like faith is a faith that does not look to self for works or merit, but instead it simply receives. A young child looks to receive simply because of the nature of the parent who gives, so the child-like faith receives because of who Christ is and not because of whom the person is or what the person has done. The gate is narrow because one must have Christ by grace and grace alone.

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