These verses from Matthew’s gospel ought to remain ever fresh in the believer’s mind and heart: “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 (Mat 7:13-14).” In each generation, Christians must determine to enter the strait gate and walk the narrow way; however, our Enemy is quite cunning and though the Word makes clear what his craftiness looks like, we are still often duped.
Think of it this way, as history rolls along, and God continues to build and grow His kingdom and as His purposes ripen, we are also sure to be tempted by Satan with old lies in seemingly new packages. Two hundred years ago for instance, fornication looked very different in one sense, and very similar in another sense; it still looked like improper use of one’s sexuality, but today it looks more like a smutty website, and perhaps less like a brothel in London’s East End. The sin and temptation are much the same, the package is different.
Now, the way of righteousness and holiness hasn’t and won’t change, but as Christians we must be diligent to search the wisdom of God’s Word in order to guide us through the changing scenes of history. We don’t want to avoid something simply because it is a technological development, and assume it must be sinful because it is “new”. At the same time, we ought not to adopt a blasé attitude towards such inventions and innovations. We shouldn’t assume something is harmless simply because the experts say it’s safe. We must walk a narrow way.
Recently, it has struck me that in every situation I am in, there are a multitude of ways in which I could sin. Often these “options” look rather different on face value, but the core is always poison. As an example, I could be in a difficult conversation and say the right thing the wrong way, or I could say the wrong thing the right way, or I could say the wrong thing the wrong way; or I could stay silently wrongfully, or I could speak up wrongfully; I could inwardly be self-righteous and outwardly feigning humility, or I could even feign boldness outwardly, yet inwardly be an insecure coward! In all these ways the broad way to destruction is present in a thousand different directions. Yet, there is only one narrow way.
This narrow way is not the way that seems right unto me. The way that seems right to a man (Pro. 14:12) is in fact the broad way that leads to destruction and death. The right way, the narrow way, is the way of holiness marked by the perfect righteousness of Christ alone. If I am to walk that path, I must do so by daily repenting of endeavoring to walk this narrow way by defining it according to my own preferences, tastes and opinions. Essentially, the broad way is the path of my own selfish arrogance, and self-righteousness.
The narrow way is God’s way, and His ways are not my ways (Isa. 55:9), which means I must forsake my way of doing, thinking, and living, and receive the grace of God to cover the numerous times I’ve tried to plow my own course. Yet, I’m not left without a hope of walking this path, for it is Christ’s blood that has not only bought for me a justifying righteousness, but He’s given me His Spirit to work out through me a sanctifying righteousness.
Today, you’ll be presented, in every situation, ten thousand ways to chart your own course, and this world encourages you to do so. However, if you desire life and would see many days (Ps. 34:12-14), run from the evil of self-defined rightness, and cling to God’s Word which offers abundant pardon for rebellious trailblazers like us. Furthermore, as history continues to unfurl, the Church must be faithful to abide by and submit to God’s Word, and apply it faithfully in all eras and all ages and all technological developments; for His Word is pure, unchanging and will perform the very thing He sent it forth to do!