“You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The [road that leads to destruction]ESV* is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NLT *[highway to hell] NLT
I have become convinced that the wide and the narrow roads that Jesus talks about are not in regards to sin per se, but about our response to sin. The Wide Road experiences sin in shame and condemnation and out of that experience works to rid itself of sin.
The Wide Road is where we put in good works and our own efforts to try and make ourselves right with God. The Wide Road is where we participate in religion that appeases the Gods, that focusses on self, that works to come clean.
“If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18b
The Narrow Road, on the other hand, does not experience sin as condemnation and shame but as a matter-of-fact part of our humanity and our fallenness. The Narrow Road despises the shame and condemnation and instead remains turned toward Jesus Christ the Saviour of our lives.
“And we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2
On the Wide Road we continue to bring our sacrifices and our penance.
On the Narrow Road we rest in the work of Jesus Christ who is our sacrifice.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.” John 6:63
“And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” Philippians 3:6b,7
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22
On the Wide Road we participate in rituals, we tithe so that we remain in the protection of God, and we do good deeds to outweigh our badness. On the Wide Road we believe in God but we have not yet put our faith in Him.
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” John 5:39
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:9
On The Narrow Road we stop trying so hard.
We understand that we CANNOT MAKE GOOD on our lives, (Galatians 2:18). We die to the law and we begin to live in Christ. We take our focus off of ourselves and whether we are good or bad or right or wrong and we put our focus onto Jesus and we follow closely as His Holy Spirit leads us; we let God guide our steps.
On The Wide Road we demand perfection from ourselves and from others. Because sin is the problem (only on the wide road) we do all we can to cover over, to pretend it isn’t there, to fix it, to solve it, to come right in our own strengths.
“I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God.” Romans 10:2-3a
“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.” Luke 11:35
Yet, on The Narrow Road we know that sin is not the problem.
Does sin cause problems? Certainly! Yet, sin is not the problem.
Christ took care of that problem over two-thousand years ago, and so on The Narrow Road we know that we do not focus any longer on our sin or anyone else’s sin — rather, we speak words of life and we give hope that, “You too can be free from the death cycles of being focussed on sin by coming into the saving work of Jesus Christ.”
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1
On The Wide Road this focus on sin and it’s knee-jerk response of being good, has us on a cycle of condemnation and shame and trying harder.
“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse.” Galatians 3:10
In contrast, those on The Narrow Road find that condemnation and shame no longer have any voice — these are mute in the great and holy, righteous, presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus despised the shame, so can we.
On The Narrow Road we rest in Jesus and we find life.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28