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THE OVERGROWN PATH
In Matthew 7: 13-14, the Bible says,
"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."
And, in I Timothy 4:1, the Bible tells us,
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"
My conversion to Christ put me on a well-worn path that I am persuaded is the same path trod by all believers before me. It definitely was, is, and, will be , narrow. The salvation of future generations depends on the identification of that narrow path which leads to a gate - eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ.
My concern today is for those after us, that they too might be justified by faith in Christ. But what I fear has happened is that many who are saved and on that narrow path have been so grateful and joyous and satisfied to be on it that they have neglected to turn around to see if there are any following behind. If we would take the time to look behind us, we all might feel the effect, for the path behind us is getting overgrown.
In these last days before the Lord's return for His own, a strange thing has been taking place. It has been happening on the broad way, for this way has always been under construction, by revision and definition. There are men and even women who are supposedly pioneering new paths to God. New, narrow looking paths. Similar in many respects to the narrow path of Scripture, but not that well-trod, old dependable path. The broad way in narrow clothing ! These new paths contain words and phrases we understand and revere, but these pioneers have seductively manipulated their context and meaning and thus, stripped them of their relevancy to the truth and power to save.
Justification before a Holy God, for example, has always been the same in Scripture. Justification is by faith in Christ alone, apart from any and all laws or works of any kind. The book of Galatians repeatedly argues that point. A group of legalist missionaries came from outside to the churches of Galatia, eventually winning the confidence of the believers there, helped out and took leadership positions before they began their seduction. Then they systematically questioned the apostleship of Paul, and followed that with their idea that the Galatians had believed an incomplete gospel. They agreed that Paul was right as far as he went: justification was truly by faith, but if you wanted to be truly saved, you had to put yourself under an aspect of the Mosaic Law, specifically the Jewish rite of circumcision. Many within the churches eagerly believed this new path, and began to walk thereon. Paul's words in Galatians 1:6-9, should be read, studied, meditated on and applied by all believers today in relation to these new narrow paths that are emerging. Others have followed the pattern of the Judaizers over the centuries blazing new paths to be walked. They too have been narrow and made to look similar, so as not to give them away. More and more people and churches that should know better are on another path today. It's a narrow looking path all right - yet it is not the one believers are to seek and walk and point others to. If the lost are to walk one of those paths, they do it to their own destruction. Would it be a stretch in judgment to say that these pioneers aren't truly concerned for others to be saved? I think so, for the Bible says in Galatians 6:12,13:
"As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
"For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh."
Justification is by faith in Christ, salvation is by grace through faith, regeneration is by God's mercy and assisted by the Holy Spirit, sanctification is through the Holy Spirit, and believers are to live a holy and righteous life. We are to point the lost to that path. Until we do, that true path will continue to be overgrown and men will march in all kinds of deceptions to their eternal doom. Listen to this amazing end to Jeremiah 6:16, as sadly they said, " We will not walk therein ." That is their choice, but they still deserve the opportunity to hear the true gospel of Christ.
Go ahead- slow down. Turn around and look. That old well-trod path is becoming overgrown, isn't it? We better get busy again for the sake of the souls of men before it's too late.