The Messenger - May/June 09

 

WHICH GATE?

 

More people travel by plane than ever before. Formerly this mode of travel was solely the realm of the wealthy, but in the present society it appears that nearly everyone has been on a plane. The downturn in home-based holidays is largely due to the availability and economy of flights to lands where sunshine is almost guaranteed. When a person is checking in for a flight it is usual to find that the boarding pass contains the information telling the traveller through which gate the plane will be boarded. Sometimes the traveller will be told that the gate has not yet been decided and to keep watching the screen for details. The information regarding the gate is essential since the gate decides the destiny. If somehow the traveller gets through the wrong gate he will end up in the wrong place!

 

In the Bible the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, told a story about two gates and His message was that the gate decides the destiny. This illustration can be found in the first book of the New Testament, Matthew's gospel, chapter 7 vv. 13, 14. He spoke of the dimensions of the gate and the destiny to which it would lead. One of the gates is wide and the other strait (narrow). The wide gate leads to destruction and the narrow gate to life. It is obvious which gate a clear thinking person would choose: or is it?

 

The wide gate is wide enough to allow a person to bring as much baggage as they wish. There will be no limit on weight or size. The pleasures, sins, entertainments, amusements of the world can all be brought through this gate. Everything that a person enjoys and that panders to a sinful nature will be welcome. When the person goes through the gate he will find that the way is thronging with a multitude of people all intent on having as much pleasure as they can find. They will be dancing merrily along the path, seemingly carefree and treating life so frivolously. The big problem is the destiny – it leads to destruction. This is not annihilation but rather it is eternal torment under the judgment of a holy and righteous God.

 

The narrow gate is different. There is only room for a sinner to enter - no baggage allowed. This is what is meant when the Bible speaks about 'repentance'. All sin and folly is left behind and the person seeking the right way comes with nothing but a plea for the mercy of God. It involves humility and low thoughts of self and high thoughts of the Son of God.

 

William Batty wrote,

"O lovely sight, O heavenly form,
For sinful souls to see;
I'll creep beside Him as a worm,
And see Him die for me."

 

The narrow gate leads to a narrow way where there are comparatively few other travellers. Yet they enjoy God and things spiritual and are very comfortable with each other's company. Of course, the big contrast is the destiny - it leads to life. This means eternal life with God. It means heavenly glory and bliss for all eternity.

 

These two ways are mutually exclusive. It is impossible to be on both and so a decision has to be made - which gate and thus which destiny? The prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, realised the broad way was disappointing and unsatisfying and so he decided to get onto the narrow way. This he did by leaving the Godlessness of the world behind and retracing his steps to his father. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me," John 14 v. 6. He opened up the way back to God by His death upon Calvary's Cross where He died that we might live. Romans 5 v. 8 states, "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

 

Reproduced from "Assembly Testimony" obtainable from W. Neill,
109 Lurgan Road, Banbridge, BT32 4NG, N. Ireland

 

Bible Verse

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1.16)

 

 

 

 

 

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