‘Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few that find it.’ (Matthew 7:13, 14)
There is nothing more sad for a believer than seeing members of his family and friends and work colleagues rejecting God’s mercy and love. These people choose to travel along the ‘broad’ way that leads towards the ‘wide’ gate, beyond which is destruction. ‘Destruction’ in this biblical context is not oblivion into death and nothingness. Far, far worse, it is a state of conscious, painful, continuous torment in hell. (Matthew 10:28; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16;24; Revelation 20:11-15)
In this day and age, the great majority of people do not believe Hell is a real place where, ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:44, 46, 48) It’s an anathema to them. On the other hand they might well use the word ‘hell’ as a perfectly normal swearword, saying it without impunity, indeed approval!
If a Christian says Hell is a real place, the usual reaction is, “You must be off your rocker! No one believes that twaddle,” but the Bible says otherwise. In particular Jesus warns of this very real place.
I recently had a phone conversation with a friend who is 87. Over the past few years he’s had several serious health issues. During our chat we touched on the subject of dying, and we spoke of eternal things.
I have known my friend since we were boys, and we have had many precarious adventures – a few of them quite dangerous, such as when we were together in a storm-tossed yacht in the Bay of Biscay. During life-threatening moments of this kind the mind can be stimulated into thinking about what happens after death. We found ourselves doing just that.
He knows I’m a Christian and he has heard my testimony, but his response has always been the same: He doesn’t deny there is a God, nor that Jesus was an historical figure, and he acknowledges that some Christians endeavour to live according to their belief.
But over the years his story has been the same. However, during a recent telephone conversation, he seemed to willingly accept that he should consider the possibility that if he is going anywhere after death, heaven would be better than hell!
I pray he will be drawn to read the Bible, particularly one of the gospels, and that the Holy Spirit will bring about a life-changing miracle. He needs to be born again. (John 3:3) There’s an urgency about it.
‘For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
This life is the only chance we get to seek the narrow gate through which one must go to heaven. That narrow gate is Jesus. (John 10:9; 14:6) Faith in Him is the key that opens the Gate to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
The lesson to learn here is that procrastination is a tool of satan.