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Featured Christians: Why are “few” on the road to life?

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Deeje, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Jesus made this statement....

    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 narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 NASB)

    If there is one road to life, but two roads to travel, why are there “few” who choose the road to life?
    What is the “constriction” that makes people choose the wrong road when it ends so badly?

    Jesus made another statement in the same chapter that I believe tells another part of the story.....

    21 “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 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; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)

    If you put those two elements together, what is Jesus telling us? Who are the “MANY”....and what are they doing that is rejected by Jesus? Why do they imagine that they are serving their “Lord” when he says he “never knew” them? “Never” means “not ever”.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. 37818

    37818 Active Member

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    There are two systems of belief. One of merit and the other an undeseved and totally only as a free gift. Only genuine Chrisianity teaches the undeseved free gift of forgivness. Cannot be obtianed by any kind of merit or works, religious rites.
     
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  3. halbhh

    halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things".

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    The whole chapter is answering just that very question, really. For me, the best summary is verses 24-27, which begin:

    "Therefore..."

    Though verse 12 is a pretty good summary of another kind.

    Matthew 7:12 In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

    The 2nd question Why do they imagine that they are serving their “Lord” when he says he “never knew” them? reminds us of the exact same wording in the Parable of the 10 Virgins:

    11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
    12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
     
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  4. halbhh

    halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things".

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    Reading that very truth perhaps best said in Ephesians:
    8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Having truly and entirely relied on Grace through faith alone -- Grace alone, by faith alone -- for my salvation, I also wondered as we all should how we are to do the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    How?

    And the best answer really is to absorb, fully, all Christ tells us in John chapter 15, verses 1-17. From Him, through Him, by Him, by His saving work on us, that we willingly do as He has sustained us and strengthened us to do.



     
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  5. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    And, willingly do the work of declaring God's kingdom (Daniel 2:44) as Christ says to do at Matthew 24:13-14; Acts 1:8
     
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  6. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking Matthew 15:6-9 . . .So you have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition. You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you when he said: ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”
    Evidently they don't really want to follow Jesus. They want to follow their own ideas.
     
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  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    But if grace is by faith alone, why does James say...

    James 2:18-25....
    "Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15 If any brothers or sisters are lacking clothing and enough food for the day, 16 yet one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do not give them what they need for their body, of what benefit is it? 17 So, too, faith by itself, without works, is dead.

    18 Nevertheless, someone will say: “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. 20 But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled that says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called Jehovah’s friend.

    24 You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same manner, was not Raʹhab the prostitute also declared righteous by works after she received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26 Indeed, just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."


    What do you think? Do James' words somehow cancel out Paul's?....or do they mesh if you read them correctly and in context? Don't we need both? :shrug:

    Didn't Jesus say that we had to be "doing" the will of the Father? (Matthew 7:21-23) So that implies actions not just faith or belief. Is forgiveness then conditional? Don't we have to be repentant in order to receive it?
     
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  8. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @halbhh Why do you think the road to life is 'constricted' ("cramped and narrow")? What do you consider those 'constrictions' to be, since the people on the other road have refused to accept them?

    What is this parable about?
    Who is the bridegroom of the parable? Clearly, Jesus was talking about himself. Why, on a different occasion, he even referred to himself as the bridegroom! (Luke 5:34, 35)

    What about the virgins? In the parable, Jesus says that the virgins have the responsibility to be ready with their lamps lit when the bridegroom arrives.
    Both the apostle Paul and the apostle John were inspired to liken Christ’s anointed followers to chaste virgins. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 14:4) Clearly, Jesus intended the parable recorded at Matthew 25:1-13 as counsel and a warning to his disciples.

    In the story, the "bridegroom" (Jesus) was delayed, and all the virgins had to be vigilant and have their lamps in order so that when the Bridegroom arrived, they would be ready for him. All of them dozed off, but when the call came that the Bridegroom had arrived, only the wise ones came with extra oil so that they would be prepared. None of then knew exactly when he was coming. The foolish ones didn't prepare and were caught out. The wise ones went into the marriage feast but the foolish ones were turned away.....

    So we have two groups of "Christians"......ones who prepared for all contingencies, and others who do not prepare for a delay and miss out on their heavenly reward. It has been almost 2,000 years of waiting.....

    Jesus used another illustration alluding to the same degree of vigilance....
    Matthew 24:43-44....
    "But know one thing: If the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 On this account, you too prove yourselves ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour that you do not think to be it."

    So the lesson is..."keep on the watch", because we do not know when Jesus will return as judge with his executional forces to separate the "sheep" from the "goats" in the final judgment of this world.
     
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  9. LightofTruth

    LightofTruth Well-Known Member

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    Maybe he doesn't know them because they don't know him.
     
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  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I think the purpose of those statements was to get the listeners to ask themselves which group THEY belong to. Not to assume that all they have to do to be righteous is follow religious edicts.
     
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  11. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Obviously the ones on the broad path are the many who cast out demons and performed miracles and prophesy.
    Don't mind me, I'm just replying because I want to see where the thread goes.
     
  12. 37818

    37818 Active Member

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    A few things to note. The purpose of salvation, Ephesians 2:10, ". . . For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
    So its not works in order to be saved, but salvation in order to allow good works to count.
    James uses the example of Abraham being justed by his works before God, James 2:21, Genesis 22:12, which was many years after Abraham was justifed without works, Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-5.
    Now the many Jesus said He never knew, Matthew 7:23, were trusting in their works, Matthew 7:22 not in God's will, Matthew 7:21, John 1:12-13.
     
    #12 37818, Mar 10, 2021
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  13. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Well, no they don’t, not fully....
    Genuinely following (and obeying) Jesus, makes them hated by the world....and they don’t want to be viewed as being that different! They’ll even go to the point of killing their brothers, because the world, I.e., their respective country, tells them to.
    I mean, how much more “worldly” can you get?!

    Performing miracles, and still on the “road to destruction”!

    Obviously, God’s spirit isn’t backing these ones crying, “Lord, Lord”.

    So, from what source is their power?

    When I’ve said this to others, many have responded, “I know what you’re implying...You’re saying it’s the Devil. But it cant be, because they’re expelling demons. Jesus said, ‘A house divided against itself....’ “
    But reason: Does Jesus say these ones are expelling demons....or, are they telling Jesus they’re expelling demons? How do they know? Can they see the demons leave? Maybe the demons are ‘pulling the wool over their eyes’, as the expression goes. Making these ones think so.

    Yet and still, they are “performing miracles’, apparently other miracles that can be observed. Maybe healing someone? Maybe getting bit by a rattler, and surviving?

    So, where is this power coming from? Not God or Jesus.

    Then we hear many times, “Satan is evil...he can’t do good things.”

    Please! Sure he can, to mislead! He and his hordes, they are clever!

    They’ve got Christendom thinking they can kill their brothers!
     
    #13 Hockeycowboy, Mar 10, 2021
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  14. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Since his words apply to the time of his return and will be seen at the final judgment of the sheep and the goats, all professed Christians from the first century onward must make that assessment.

    Since Jesus said that only those “doing the will of the Father” would pass this final test, what is “the will of the Father” that we all must be doing? And why do “many” fail to do it despite the fact that they appear on the surface to have God’s backing?

    If Jesus said that “weeds” would grow in the same field as the “wheat”, how is it possible to tell the difference?
     
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  15. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day, only the wicked will be on the broad road, since it is the wicked who will die at God's hand - whether they willfully don't know God, or they don't obey him. 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9
    When the many are identified as goats, it will be because they are wicked, They choose not to follow the Christ.

    Yes, people who choose the broad road, do so because they do not want to be obedient to the master's commands... whether that be due to fear, or misguidance.
    Most of them create ideas to get around following Jesus's commands, even if that means acquiring teachers to have their ears tickled.
    (2 Timothy 4:3) . . .For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled.

    (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11) . . .because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. ... God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie,

    People carry out many acts in ignorance. Because they join themselve to a group that is not following Christ, they get involved in many activities that are not in harmony with God's truth - including wars.
    This is due to the choices they made.
     
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  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    That is what we are supposed to be asking ourselves, I think. So that we will continue to consider the condition of our righteousness, or lack thereof. And not simply follow some religious edicts and then presume ourselves to be righteous (Jesus was a Jew speaking to other Jews, it should be noted, here).
     
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  17. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    That is a good point. Since all those ‘good works’ performed under false pretences do not count with Jesus when he comes to judge mankind, whose power is used to perform their miracles?
    Does the devil do good works? Apparently that is one of the ways he deceives....(2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

    @Hockeycowboy has mentioned that good works are sometimes clouded by bad judgment. Especially is this evident when it comes to nationalistic pride or patriotism.

    In the light of Jesus words at Matthew 5:44-45....
    “You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.”.....how can a “Christian” love their enemy with a weapon in their hands as if Jesus will somehow overlook their disobedience because it involves another (competing) loyalty.....love of one’s country?

    Who do we obey when taking human life is involved? Jesus didn’t mention an escape clause.

    The apostle Paul went further in this....
    “Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.” 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.

    How can any Christian ignore those clear directives? Will it make them popular? (John 15:18-21) Or will they receive ostracism because of the stand taken by the majority of churches who want to justify disobeying Christ’s commands? What will the “weeds” be doing?

    Abraham obeyed his God without hesitation, even when the unthinkable was asked of him.....isn’t this what faith being backed up by works really means? If we know God’s will and deliberately go against it because we can justify it in our own mind (as Abraham could have, seeing as how all God’s promises depended on Isaac being alive) yet Abraham did not hesitate to obey, because he figured that God knew what he was doing and would raise his son from the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

    Faith has to be backed up by works. i.e. faith without the works that prove it...it is an inactive or “dead” faith....and the works have to be done in obedience to Christ’s teachings....all of them. Who was given authority to choose which commands they could avoid?
     
    #17 Deeje, Mar 10, 2021
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  18. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Yes, that is true, but how sad that humans are experts at self delusion. :( When the heart becomes a partner in crime, talking us into actions that run counter to Jesus commands, we can attain a degree of confidence, but it is a misplaced confidence as the response to Jesus’ rejection of those ones is met with their incredulous excuses.

    Jesus was indeed speaking to his Jewish countrymen, but he was not there to prop up their apostate religious system. He was sent to the “lost sheep” in Judaism, not to their negligent, self righteous shepherds.

    In Matthew 23, Jesus condemned the religious leaders outright. He said that they taught “the commands of men as doctrines”....he said that they were “from their father, the devil”, so he led his disciples out of that apostate system and into new pasture, under the care of righteous shepherds and with a “new covenant”.

    However, that was not to last, as the devil would do to Christianity what he did to Judaism....he corrupted it from the inside. “Weeds” were sown among the “wheat”.....so if Jesus said we could identify his true disciples from the ‘weedy’ imitations by their “fruitage”, what should we expect to see as that fruitage?
     
    #18 Deeje, Mar 10, 2021
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  19. Yahcubs777

    Yahcubs777 Active Member

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    Wonderful question. I believe, it is because those that are on the broad way die, while those on the narrow are those that lived forever without dying at all.

    For example: GOD said that HE lost none. So was it only few that made it? Even in Rev 20 it is written that some resurrected at the second resurrection will be resurrected unto life, because their names were found in the book of life. And we know from what was written that all resurrected at the first resurrection will reign with HIM for 1000 years.

    All of these people died and were resurrected. But there is also the people that never died, such as Enoch and Elijah, and those that were called "First fruits" unto GOD.

    Therefore, I believe that those that followed the wide path, are those that died.
    While those that followed the strait, are those that lived without dying at all.

    Those that did not gain entrance at all, I believe they are tares.
     
  20. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Thank you for your response and welcome to RF....

    Can I ask you where I might find a scripture where it says that humans do not really die? How does a mortal live without dying? The apostles and all who were Christ's disciples died....and even Jesus died, so in what way did they live? It must involve resurrection because the Bible mentions no other way to live again....so what is your definition of a resurrection? What did it mean to Jews? What did it mean to Christians?

    Revelation 20 contains some very interesting verses.....so when comparing scripture with other scripture, I believe that we can gain a clearer picture.

    Revelation 20:6...
    "Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years."

    Here are those who take part in the "first" resurrection....this is a resurrection to spirit life like Jesus had....their resurrection is not instantaneous however. They must 'sleep' in death until Christ's return, according to Paul....

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-16....
    "Moreover, brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who are sleeping in death, so that you may not sorrow as the rest do who have no hope. 14 For if we have faith that Jesus died and rose again, so too God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in death through Jesus. 15 For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first."

    Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians about 50 CE, or around 17 years after Jesus was put to death, and the resurrection of his disciples was not going to take place until his return, so it was not something that was expected to take place instantly. In order to be resurrected, one must die in the flesh, "sleep" until until the resurrection, and be given a spirit body in order to enter heaven, where Jesus said he had prepared a place for them.

    The apostle John wrote his Revelation towards the end of the first century (or around 65 years after Jesus died) and he said that those who attain rulership with Christ would do so in the future. John was taken in vision to "the Lord's Day". What or when do you understand "the Lord's Day" to be?

    The "book of life" apparently contains the names of all who have qualified for life because of having a good record with God, because those not found there are eliminated from existence in "the lake of fire". (Revelation 20:15)

    That being said....when do you see the "first" and 'second' resurrections as taking place? And when does Jesus call all the dead from their graves? (John 5:28-29)


    It is apparent that those who are the "wheat" are serving God as disciples of Christ in spite of the "weeds" choking up the whole world. So I guess you are right in a way...those on the "broad road" are those who took the easy way and found to their horror, that it was a DEAD end......but those on the 'cramped and narrow road' were willing to endure the hardships that satan and his world would inflict on Jesus followers, knowing that the destination was well worth the trouble. (1 John 5:19; John 15:18-21)

    Do you understand the nuances of Jesus parable of the "wheat and the weeds"? Its very interesting....
    In the Middle East is a noxious weed called "bearded darnel" and it is the bane of every wheat farmer. It is called "wheat's evil twin" because in the early stages of growth, you cannot tell them apart.....but as they grow, the difference becomes more noticeable, but by that time the root systems of both plants have become inextricably entwined so that it is not possible to pull the weeds out without uprooting the wheat. Only at the harvest can the reapers pull up the weeds without doing damage to the wheat, which is separated and put in the farmers storage barns. The weeds are then burned in the fire. That explains what the parable was all about. The weeds are all still there but so are the wheat and we have to be able to identify them and join ourselves to them because Jesus only feeds one household of his servants. (Matthew 24:45) I believe that the time for the "harvest" is looming.

    What does "gaining entrance" mean to you? Where are they gaining entrance to?....and what will they do there?
     
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