No Middle Ground

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Simply put, Jesus is the gate to righteousness and the way of righteousness. He is the entrance through which we may enter into God’s provision. He is also the only way for our access to God the Father:

Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:7-9)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Contrary to what many believe, salvation is not obtained in a myriad of ways. There is no other name by which we must be saved but Jesus. In preaching to the rulers, elders and teachers of the law, Peter clearly stated:

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

In our verses for today, Jesus sets before us two choices. If you will, curtain A or curtain B. Clearly, the path of destruction or the path of life. There was no middle way then, there is no middle way now, and there will be no middle way in the future.

“Our nature struggles fiercely against being saved without our works and tries to deceive us with a grand illusion of our own righteousness. So we may find ourselves attracted to a life that merely appears to be righteous. Or because we know we aren’t righteous, we may be frightened by death or sin. Therefore, we must learn that we should have nothing to do with any other way of becoming righteous, except through Christ alone.”
-Martin Luther

God has a way of never changing. Jesus did not come saying He wanted just a part of us.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Scripture tells us all our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. Believers do not work to be saved rather we work because we are saved. We do not have a right to grace, but have been given the privilege of grace. This privilege makes us appreciative, humble, and desirous to serve. Grace is not something we deserve. It is a gift–God’s wholly unmerited favor. The narrow way will always lead us away from ourselves and straight to Jesus. Everything in the Gospel is about our Lord.

We are not to build our hopes of righteousness upon our works. As the great hymn says, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians our sure foundation is Jesus!

“What ultimately keeps our motives biblically prioritized and holy before God is the profound conviction that obeying God will merit us nothing. This is why Jesus tells us that, when we have done all that we should do, we are still unprofitable servants. Jesus does not nullify the value of duty in order to dissuade us from serving God, but to keep is from depending on duty to gain God’s acceptance. When we understand that our works in themselves earn us no merit with God, then the only reason to do those works is love for Him. Thus we learn to serve God not for personal gain but for His glory-not for love of self but for love of the Savior.”
-Bryan Chapell

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Take It to Heart

“We do the works, but God works in us the doing of the works.” (Augustine)

“Faith is the root of works. A root that produces nothing is dead.” (Thomas Wilson)