Featured

[Featured][bsummary]

Stay On The Narrow Way



"Narrow is the way" doesn't mean "hard to make it is the way".  Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light and in Him we find rest for our weary souls (Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:9-11).  The Christian life has its hardships and difficulties, but salvation itself isn't one of them.  Jesus paid the entire price for our salvation.  He died not just for some of our sins, but for all of them (Romans 4:25, 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18, Colossians 2:13, Hebrews 10:11-12).  We are justified before God by faith alone in Christ alone.  "Narrow is the way" means that the way is exclusive and focused.  Jesus Himself is the Way (John 14:6).  The way is narrow because the doctrine of salvation through Christ alone is narrow.  Few there are that find it.  The only way to Heaven and eternal life is through faith in Christ and the sufficiency of His propitiation and resurrection.


In a nutshell, the history of the Church is the story of Believers keeping the hope of the Gospel alive while continually fighting against the deceiving spirits that have infiltrated its ranks.  These deceiving spirits teach either law without grace (legalism) or grace without faith (lawlessness).

The legalists pay lip service to the Gospel, but effectively deny the Atonement.  They ridicule Believers who preach the simple Gospel message and pressure Christians to abandon grace and go back to the Law (Galatians 5:3-4).  They lay burdens on their brothers that no one can bear and hold them to standards that they themselves violate.  And as far as unbelievers are concerned, legalists shut the door of salvation in their faces.



The lawless pay lip service to Christ, but they twist the Gospel in many ways because they don't really believe it.  Often they deny the literal resurrection of Christ, which must be believed for salvation (Romans 10:9).  They run after the world and the lusts of the flesh and twist Scripture to justify themselves.  They don't consider sin to be a real trespass against God and therefore don't recognize their personal and desperate need for forgiveness and reconciliation.  Often times they even believe that Jesus is just one of many ways to Heaven.



What I believe God has shown me over the years is that the legalists hate the Gospel because of the excesses of the lawless, which they perceive to be evidence against grace.  The lawless hate the Gospel because of the hatred, vitriol, and condemnation coming from the legalists.  They both err and miss the truth because they associate the truth with the other side.

What both sides have in common is that they have a form of godliness, but deny its power.  They believe parts, but not all of Scripture, and they both deny the truth and power of the Gospel.

Consider what Paul says about the false Christians in the last days.  In RED I've highlighted qualities that seem to primarily define legalists, BLUE primarily defines the lawless, and ORANGE equally defines both.  This isn't an exact science, but you'll get my point:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
- 2 Timothy 3:1-7


In our day we see the presence of the same deceiving spirits that were on the earth in Jesus' day:

The Pharisees were the proud and self-righteous condemners who worshiped the Law rather than Christ.  They thought doing the right things made them right with God and when Jesus showed up and told them that the only way they could find life was by believing in Him and His message, they condemned Him and had Him put to death.

The Sadducees denied the truth of Scripture and twisted it to fit their contemporary Hellenized lifestyles - just like many of the Christians today who justify whatever beliefs and behaviors they want by twisting Scripture.  They didn't believe God's words.

In the end, both groups missed what was staring them right in the face: God in the flesh.  Had they believed in Him and His message they would have been saved.  There were a few exceptions, like Nicodemus, but overall they rejected God's only provision for sin.  The story is no different today.  The legalists and lawless reject the love of God and the simple truth of the Gospel.

The truth of the Gospel is simple and life-changing and will give rest to your weary soul, but satan comes to snatch the truth away from you.  Hold onto the truth with all you've got and pray that you would not be deceived.  Begin to recognize the rotten fruits of both groups, so that you won't fall victim to either side.  Christ isn't in the middle of them, He is far above them both.


For further reading:

WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

ATONEMENT: THE DIVIDING LINE

CREATED FOR GOOD WORKS

THE TIGHTROPE OF FAITH

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

34 comments :

  1. What a powerful article. I greatly appreciate your work here, Gary. I know it takes a lot to run a website & community and write, not to mention everyday life. May God bless you for your faithfulness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does, but God is so faithful. He has surrounded me with mighty men and women of faith who are helping lead out this final mission.

      Thank you sister for your encouragement.

      Delete
  2. Great insite! When passages can be clarified in application it makes for a more effective witness. Been enjoying your site, keep up the excellent work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Application is important.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gary - love reading all of your articles here. They are so powerful and filled with truth. Bless you for running this website and being a watchman in these last days. I'm looking forward to meeting you in person on the flight "home" - which won't be long. Maranatha!

    YSIC,
    Karen (Danville, CA)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the awesome encouragement, Karen! We'll meet up there!

      Delete
  5. Brother Gary

    Nice insight. The legalists and lawless are both away from the Gospel.
    Christians don't walk in holiness to gain God's love. It is the other way round. We are loved so much by God and hence we walk in holiness and are careful not to grieve the heart of God.
    We may not be perfect but grace covers all. He who began the good work in us will complete it.

    Dear brother Gary you are doing a great job of proclaiming the gospel of grace. He who trusts in God's grace will never be put to shame. Your light shines through these articles. Love you brother. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are freed from the LAW
      But we are not to become LAWLESS

      The Legalists are dictated by the Law
      The Lawless have abandoned the Law

      We are no longer dictated by the Law
      But we willingly chose to follow the Law

      An example will illustrate this better.

      During the last century, a slave trader was selling slaves. A rich man passed by that place. He happened to see among the group of slaves one woman with a sorrowful tear filled face. He was moved by her pathetic condition. He took pity on her, paid the price for her and took her home. He told her " Daughter I bought you just to give you freedom. You are now free to go anywhere and live a happy life.
      The woman was taken back with joy and gratitude. She fell at the feet of her master and said, " Sir you have shown me, an undeserving slave such marvellous kindness. I can never find anyone in this world who can show me such kindness. I will remain with you and serve you like a slave till my last breath"

      The slave now served her master not out of fear but out of love and gratitude.
      She never served fearing that she would lose her freedom.
      She was not dictated to serve but she willingly chose that.

      Genesis 6: 5,6 says that our sins grieve the heart of God.
      It was to free us from sin that Christ died on the cross.
      We hate sin because it grieves the heart of God.

      God loves us no matter what big sinner we are. He is waiting for us and is willing to embrace us with open arms. He offers us unconditional pardon. But he also says, " My child, sin no more"
      He understands our weaknesses and gives us the grace to live holy lives. Though we may fall he helps us to rise up again and walk. He is willing to forgive us any number of times.

      Delete
    2. We can understand things better if we know the difference between obedience and justification.

      OBEDIENCE: Every believer must willingly chose to live a life of obedience to Christ. The Word of God shows us the correct path we must take and the Spirit of God helps us to walk in that path.

      JUSTIFICATION: We are justified only by the righteousness of Christ. We must never seek to be justified by our works.



      Here two errors can occur

      Error number 1:

      LEGALISTS - They live a life of obedience to God and seek to be justified by their works


      Error number 2:

      LAWLESS- They seek to be justified by grace and think that if they tried to live a life of obedience to God it would be their self righteousness and abandon all Law.


      But the correct thing to do is:

      1. We must willingly choose to live a life of obedience to God out of love and gratitude, for what the Lord has done for us

      2. We must never think that our obedient life can save us. It is only by the merit of Christ we stand perfect before God and it is by His grace alone we are saved

      Delete
    3. Yes, we walk in holiness because God loved, forgave, and accepted us unconditionally (through faith).

      Delete
    4. Dear brother Gary

      We may use terms such as LEGALISTS and LAWLESS just for the sake of understanding. But we can never view the Legalists as cold and harsh nor the Lawless as sinful and wayward because we all are weary pilgrims just trying to find the narrow way to Heaven.

      Dear brother using the example of the master and slave ( the story I explained above) I would like to share with you my small understanding about Law and Grace.


      DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAW AND GRACE

      LAW

      In the above story let us imagine that the master purchased the slave, took her home and told her, " You are now my slave. You must always wait upon me for my orders and do what I want you to do. Now go and prepare my dinner "

      The slave out of fear obeys her master. Even if she is unwilling to work she drags herself to do the work. This is working under Law


      GRACE

      Instead the master purchased the slave, took her home and said " My daughter I bought you just to give you freedom. You are free to go anywhere and live happily "

      The slave is gripped with joy and gratitude. She falls down at the feet of her master and says, "Master i can never find anyone in this world who would love this undeserving slave so much. I will remain with you and serve you like a slave till my last breath"

      And she stays with her master. Now if the master calls her and says: Daughter, can you prepare my dinner, What would the slave do?

      She would not take that as a labour or task. She would consider that a privilege that in some small way she can now show her love for her master. The love for her master energises her and the work seems very easy. This is working under Grace

      Romans 6: 14 says " Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under Grace

      And the slave will never ever think that she got her freedom because of her obedience to her master. It was only because of the price my master paid for me I enjoy freedom and salvation.

      Delete

    5. In working under grace, the master also comes along and helps her to do the job.

      Delete
    6. Some insights that can help us overcome sin:

      To better understand why we fall into sin, it would be helpful if we know that

      We have

      1. An Inner Man ----Romans 7:22

      &

      2. An Outward Man ----( Romans 7:24)


      The Inner Man is also called
      Spirit
      Mind

      The Outer Man is also called
      Body
      Flesh


      When we accept Christ, the Inner Man is transformed and we get new desires. These new desires are explained in Romans 7
      I want to do good (verse19)
      I don't want to do evil (verse 19)
      I delight in the Law of God (verse22)

      So armed with these new desires we start to live the Christian life. But we fail, fail and fail. Then we understand that our outer man or physical body does not co operate with the inner man.

      After such struggles Paul discovers the reason why this happens. He discovers that in the members of his body there is a law of sin which just pulls his body into sin. Like the Law of gravity which pull any body down, the Law of sin pulls us to do sin. ( Rom 7:23)


      Now Paul is thankful to God that at least his Inner Man ( mind) is changed. His mind wants to obey God. Only his Outer Man ( Flesh) is driven by sin. (Rom 7:25)

      Before accepting Christ even our Inner Man is sinful. So there was no struggle between the Inner Man and Outer Man.

      But soon Paul finds out the good news of the gospel. (Rom 8:2, Rom 6:6)
      He understands that our old man was crucified with Christ.
      The body of sin has been done away with.
      Instead of the Law of sin there is the Law of Spirit operating our body.

      But this is something that does not happen by itself. We need to believe this truth. Only then it becomes true.

      On keen observation we can find that in Romans 7 Paul believed that he was still carnal sold under sin ( Romans 7: 14) As long as he believed that he was walking in sin.

      But when Paul realised that the Law of Spirit has freed him from the Law of sin, he boldly says we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit (Rom 8:9) And he walked in victory.

      We can compare this to Peter walking on the water. As long as he saw Jesus he walked. When he saw the waves he faltered.


      This is the perfect salvation that God offers us.

      1. When we accept Christ our Inner Man is changed and we have desires to live a godly life. This happens automatically.
      2. Our Outer Man struggles against these desires and we commit sin. But when we realise that our body is no longer driven by sin but believe that it is driven by the Spirit of God we start to walk in holiness.

      Romans 6: 18
      Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

      We were slaves of sin. Our body was driven by sin. .
      Now we are slaves of righteousness. Our body is driven by righteousness.

      Philippians 2:13
      God works in us both to will (Inner Man) and to act ( Outer Man) for His good pleasure

      Delete
  6. Brother Gary

    I find from your articles that you have a fruit bearing life. I find your articles very helpful. Here when I heard about OSAS for the first time I could not understand much about it. And my replies could have sounded like a legalist. I am sorry for that brother. But now I understand more about your views. I find your light shining through these articles. God bless you dear brother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, brother. There are so many weary souls out there. If you have an opportunity to share this article with someone that might be struggling either with legalism or lawlessness, please share it.

      Delete
    2. Great job, Gary. Now if we could get some of the others who frequent this site to read this article and humbly accept the truth...

      Delete
  7. GOD bless you my brother for blessing me!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad! Rest in Him. Hebrews 3-4 is a great place to study what the Sabbath was really for.

      Delete
  8. Dear brother Gary, I really do very much appreciate your thoughts and work! It's just Nicodemus I disagree about. Until today, no one (!!) really was able to show me from scriptures that he is saved. Instead, nobody ever (!!) mentioned his pharisee colleague Joseph of Arimathia to me who is explicitely (!!) named as a truly saved brother in Christ in every (!!) of the four gospels, but even without ever having spoken to the LORD in private like Nicodemus = Matthew 27,57; Mark 15,43; Luke 23,51; John 19,38 each verse mentions him as a true disciple of Christ but yet describing from another point of view. There's truly NO SINGLE VERSE describing Nicodemus at all like this. Or my own bible is not correct, but I cannot find any confirmation to his salvation... ;-) Much blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's true we can't say for sure that Nicodemus was saved. I personally hope and believe he was. Romans 10 tells us we can't really know who goes up or down, but we can know personally where we'll go (:

      Delete
    2. Thank you Gary for your kind response. I sometimes react somewhat 'allergic' to several statements of "traditional evangelical teaching" please forgive me. The topic of Nicodemus is one of them (similar to "saved suicide Christians" or the "no man knows" question and other teaching errors). I just sometimes am sorry for brother Joseph as no one mentioned him ever or preaching these passages instead. We'll meet him soon to talk about that for sure. LOL :)

      Delete
  9. Gary,
    Appreciate you and it is very clear that you really have a good solid understanding of God's Word. That speaks volumes when it comes to the credibility of this site as a whole. I've been looking up for some time now. The bloodmoons had me looking up with hope (not with a "oh this is it" but with hope. They didn't disapoint as I just chalked them up as another sign that He is in control and speaking to us all. I agree that there are TONS of converging things pointing to this year and really many point to September. Rapture would be GREAT!!!! But even if we are wrong, there is no doubt that God is speaking and saying "Look around you!!! I'm coming soon". It can be real easy to fall into "well, I just can't see anything happening" and I battle that daily now. Your articles like these are what all of need in this battle ... just the plain simple truth of the Gospel. Good medicine!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Annabel,

    Agree with you that it is not a garantee that Nicodemus was saved. I think that many look at his "works" as actions or "fruits" that he did believe. Really, there is no more evidence that Joseph was other than his "works" of providing a tomb. Nicodemus came in the night (he feared the leaders) maybe because he truely sought truth from One that he felt just might have it. Nicodemous agrued in defense of Jesus to the counsel and end the end Nicodemous purchases the anointing oils and spices (about 75 pounds worth) to anoint His body. Joseph just provided a tomb so why would we suggest we are sure about his salvation and not Nicodemus? So, you are right in that we are not sure. Unfortunately there are many friends and family members that we may just be "unsure" about. God knows though. In the case of Nicodemus, I look at his actions and would summise that before it was too late, he knew the truth. He seemed to be "looking up" and "watching" more than the rest of his peers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anon, thank you for your kind response. Did you look up all the scriptures about Joseph I provided? Every verse states clearly that Joseph was a true disciple of Christ. This is Gods word about him, it doesn't depend on any "works" he did. The bible identifies him as 'disciple' whereas nothing comparable ever is said of Nicodemus. Besides, Joseph went into the house of Pilate asking for the body of Christ whereas Nicodemus was not. Entering the house of a Gentile made you unclean according to Jewish tradition, especially on Sabbath preparation day. You were unclean for Sabbath then not only by touching a dead body but for that reason as well. BTW Joseph went into Pilates house still in plain daylight and could be seen by other pharisees, he was not hiding his fear anymore then (Jewish "evening" begins at 3 p.m until 6 p.m. when already next day counting begins so Jesus was buried before that). If he gave Christ his own grave he made the grave also unclean in openly burying some 'enemy of the state' felon therein which must have been breaking news in Jerusalem for the next months at least. Nicodemus is one of the two pharisees to be witnessing Jesus' death and fulfilling the Jewish law (burial traditions for upper-class persons) according to scriptures completely. He accepted Jesus as "Rabbi" and good teacher but never as God and LORD of his life. To him, Jesus was a teacher sent from god to which he paid his last respect in spending money for the spices. But compare his "works" to the uncleanness of Joseph daring to do out of love to the LORD. After all, you will not find one single verse identifying Nicodemus as following Jesus, waiting for the kingdom or as disciple like Joseph. He was just acknowledging Jesus as some honorable teacher. John 7,50-53 is often quoted as proof for Nicodemus defending Jesus. But does he really? He neither responds to the pharisees nor is his way in verse 53 other than "to his own house". When Joseph is naned to be the ONLY one not having agreed to Jesus' conviction (Luke 23,51) you have to agree that Nicodemus at least voted present if not even agreed which is only a question of logic. Nicodemus is one of the two witnesses (needed to prove a thing according to law) and he helps to fulfil ALL things written about Jesus in the law of Moses, in the prophets and psalms (Luke 24,44). But he and Joseph are like a pair of Cain and Abel / Esau and Joseph brothers, one saved but not the other. Its the "pharisee-pair" to illustrate this. The bible proves here that a pharisee can be saved like some other sinner or rich man. But they are not both saved. And what annoys me most in evangelical teaching and preaching, it's always the wrong person taken as example and proof for pharisee salvation just because of the nightly dialogue in John 3. But if you read the chapter again, do you note any reaction of Nicodemus calling Jesus "Lord" or anything like the woman in chapter 4? No you won't. Because Nicodemus stays being a pharisee with an unconverted heart until the end. Much blessings to you! :)

      Delete
  11. The Atonement is amazing! I have found in my walk that it isn't tough enough. This has been a blessing to my family:

    Atonement Explained from the beginning:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvtaKr0PySA

    Asking for Atonement vs Accepting Atonement:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMwz7kxjP-0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That second video is great and is really making the rounds. Glad you spotted it.

      Delete
  12. Love your site as your witness, keep it up, you edify His Body.

    What jumps out here is "Avoid such people", and then the reasons which follow. This illustrates a fine point in our directive to 'save the lost' and evangelize. One response many Rev 12 watchers have, reacting to scoffers, is to seek to engage them, debate, and 'win them over' to at least LOOKING at the details before LEAPING to condemnation. YouTube is overflowing with these in the comments battlefields.

    Isn't it interesting that The Word, as here, tell us to STOP THAT, "Avoid such people. " and "Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." (2Tim 2:23).

    Again, our Lord draws a line and says, yes, go for the 'lost' who do not know the Gospel of their freedom, but, kick the dust off your sandals when departing from these others who 'know' the Gospel but oppose it's being worked out in our day through prophecy and the closing of the age. Our Lord of Mercy is actually merciless when it comes to those opposing HIS work through His Word being evidence through His heavens which He crafted to tell His story to His people and He calls us to be LIKE HIM in this.

    Maranatha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A BIG AMEN to this, dear Jimboni! Stay blessed and firm in the word, MARANATHA :-)

      Delete
  13. Thank you Gary for all your posts, which are food for the soul, unlike anything I hear in church - these topics are not addressed and they are so exciting because God is an exciting up-to-date God-, so why shouldn't we be like that too. Onward with God. Maranatha.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Gary,
    Thank you for articulating the true gospel message so clearly. After being sucked into a legalistic church almost 45 years ago and then taking 27 years to finally wake up and smell the coffee, I find your writings so refreshing and encouraging. Thank you brother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christ breaks every chain.

      Thank you for letting me know I was an encouragement to you!

      Delete
  15. The thought that came to my mind as I read over your article is that the narrow way has a ditch on either side of that narrow road. One is legalism and one is lawlessness. (If somebody in the comments above already mentioned this, I apologize. Did not see it as I glanced through the comment.) May the Lord, in His graciousness, empower each of us with wisdom and discernment to navigate the home stretch in such a way as to not fall off into the ditch on either side of His narrow way. In Yeshua's matchless Name. Amen. Watchman35

    ReplyDelete


Recommended

[Top Post][grids]

World News

[Top World News][bleft]

Highlights

[Highlights][twocolumns]

Bible Study

[Bible Study][list]

Astronomy

[Astronomy][bleft]

Greg's Thoughts

[Top Greg][twocolumns]

Jeff's Musings

[Top Jeff][bsummary]

Birth Pangs

[Birth Pangs][bleft]

Politics

[Political][twocolumns]

Wolf Watch

[Wolves][bsummary]

In-Depth Articles

[In-Depth][bleft]

Archaeology

[Archaeology][twocolumns]

Science

[Top Science][list]