Yesterday I asked you to read Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount) in preparation for today’s blog post. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can do so here. In this sermon, Christ lays out the high moral demands of a holy God, thereby demonstrating our abject need for a Savior. None of us, apart from His grace, has the capacity to live in such holiness.
Notice, then, His command in Chapter 7:
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ~~Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
As we learn in John 10:7-9, Jesus Himself is the door (or gate). That reality carries several implications that frankly go against fleshly inclinations. Obviously, the primary stumbling block is the implication that only Christians will inherit God’s Kingdom. Such exclusivity flies in the face of our 21st Century value of inclusion. How dare the Lord limit salvation to those who would believe in Him!
Even more repulsive to postmodern sensibilities is the implication that Jesus would impose His morality on anyone. False converts may be okay with the idea of Jesus dying for their sins, but they then want to conclude that His grace gives them permission to continue in sin. Or they use incredible semantics to to explain why the apostles listed certain behaviors as sinful that we now understand to be perfectly acceptable.
In short, false converts reject Matthew 7:13-14 in favor of having a Jesus Who accepts them on their terms rather than His. If He must be the only Savior, at least He should save everyone (regardless of whether or not they believe in Him) and He shouldn’t tell anyone how to conduct their lives.
False converts miss the fact that, because He is Lord, Jesus has every right to determine both the criteria for salvation and the way His redeemed people ought to live. Thankfully, true believers accept His exclusivity and depend on His Spirit for the power to live in obedience to Him.