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The Strait Gate: Entrance to life
Matthew 7: 13- 14 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 there at; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The Christian faith is about salvation and eternal life in Christ, yet these doctrines are not the primary concerns of many converts these last days. Maybe because of anxieties, worries, and troubles of this life; I don’t know what other preachers think or have to say about church and salvation in this new age. It is obvious the comforts of this life and values of this sinful world are actually taking over the importance of salvation in the hearts of many converts these modern days. A lot of preachers are comfortable with this modern development. In this present generation, it appears the church is so much anxious about earthly glory and splendor - giving little attention to ultimate purpose of salvation which is about eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Frankly speaking, far too many preachers in this modern era of church business are not after salvation and eternal life. Many run after earthly treasures and seek the praise of men. Could this be as a result of the strong influence of mammon these last days or what? In these modern days, financial success and material possessions are the ultimate goals of many modern preachers as if Christ redeemed the church by means of offering money for our salvation. Christ Jesus did not offer money to anyone to redeem our souls. He offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God and was crucified to save all humankind. What does He expect from us, “His church”? Christ expects His church to conform properly to basic doctrines. The teaching of God’s kingdom, salvation, and divine grace (gospel) as distinguished from Moses’ law, directs every convert towards the strait gate and narrow way which leads to everlasting life.
The Christian faith does not by any means esteem material mammon, values of this life, or earthly treasures above heavenly treasures. The doctrine of Christ strongly emphasizes eternal life above everything the world has to offer in this life. The Christian faith effectually upholds the fundamental doctrines of Christ Jesus which strongly reveals His innate nature and supernatural behavior.
1Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Christians who appreciate this spiritual truth, as reveal in 1st Timothy 6:7 don’t hesitate to follow the narrow way which leads to that exceptional peace, joy, and fulfillment every true convert desire in Christ.
In Christian living and pursuit of God’s kingdom, understanding holiness of Christ is top priority - extremely important. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. The primary purpose of church existence in this world is to carry out the great commission even as the Christian grow daily in sanctification through faith in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12: 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
Holiness of Christ is a lifestyle. It is an awesome and an outstanding heavenly lifestyle originating from God. The Christian conforms to this heavenly heritage daily in the fear of the Lord and with total submission to yearnings of the Holy Spirit. Though somewhat difficult to explain however, this heavenly heritage is not a religious formality and is not by human effort - but the work of the Holy Spirit and begins with the heart.
Salvation of the Christian is the work of the Holy Spirit and it begins with the inward thereby, manifesting outwardly through good works, actions and sober conduct. This simply means, holiness is not just an outward separation from sin alone; the Christian has strong relationship with Christ, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit from the inward being. Holiness is about mercy, forgiveness, grace, selflessness, contentment, obedience to God, gratitude towards God, longsuffering, self control, sobriety, meekness, and fear of the Lord; and not just an outward separation from the world and sin alone.
I can’t tell how other preachers and converts in today’s church understand holiness. But I wouldn’t forget the Bible revealing holiness as the innate characteristics of the Almighty God. Holiness is a supernatural behavior originating from God. It begins with the heart when it involves the Christian. The attributes of this heavenly heritage is found in the primary teachings of Christ Jesus. Beginning with the book of Matthew chapter five to chapter seven -- in Matthew chapter 5, chapter 6, and chapter 7, Christ unveiled basic doctrines which depict true holiness and saving faith. Mark, Luke, and John also unfold same fundamental doctrines.
Exodus 34: 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth.
The above scripture says God is merciful, gracious, patient, abundant in goodness and truth.
Exodus 34: 6 reveals five major attributes which unveil the holiness of God. These attributes were what Jesus of Nazareth manifested in this world before He ascended into the heavens.
Exodus 34: 6 truly unveil the innate nature and supernatural behavior of the Almighty God. Man was made to bear that strong spiritual resemblance to God, and man was holy to God before the fall [Genesis 1:26]. After the fall, Adam lost that spiritual resemblance which he inherited from God and holiness disappeared out of human race. The sin nature which all mankind inherited from Adam influences people to sin every day. It negatively affects people’s mind and understanding so they cannot perceive the mercy of God and repent of their ways.
All thanks to God Almighty, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins [Colossians1: 12-14].
The Christian is transformed and regenerated through Christ, though flesh continue to operate within us and we cannot eradicate our sin nature, but we can allow the Holy Spirit to lead and control us so that we do not give in to desires of the flesh.
Regaining holiness to mankind was victoriously accomplished by Christ Jesus on day of His resurrection. After the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, holiness is being constantly developed in the process of sanctification through the Holy Spirit, and we shall resemble Christ in full spiritual likeness when the Church is glorified.
Roman 8: 30 moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called, and who He called, them He also justified, and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
John 15: 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
When Christ ascended into the heavens, He did not leave the church without doctrines to follow. He provided sound doctrines and expects us to conform to His sound doctrines. That is what the Christian faith stands for; total conformity to teachings of Christ. It is all about the strait gate and the narrow way which leads to life. Christianity is about complete submission to Christ and His teachings.
To be precise, faith without conforming to the teachings of Christ is not genuine, but hypocritical and worthless. Secondly, faith without submitting to the yearnings and leading of the Holy Spirit may amount to no reward after the race on the last day. The fear of the Lord is what keeps faith alive and obedience to God’s word is what guarantees eternal life. One cannot have saving faith outside the fear of the Lord and total conformity to teachings of Christ.
It’s so funny and at same time very unpleasant seeing traditions of men, negative civilizations of this world, human ideas and all sorts of worldliness have stronger influence in the church of God - while fundamental doctrines is being neglected and forsaken. Instead of the church making impact in the world, the system is the one now making so much impact in the church and holiness is nowhere to be found among many modern converts. No happening of this life takes the Almighty God unaware. He sees the end of everything before the beginning of all things. Therefore, the scripture is fulfilled in this modern generation.
By strictly looking into Christ’ doctrines, I understand very well that life does not end to this present sinful world. There is life after this natural life on earth. Eternal life is real and eternal damnation or everlasting punishment is also real. The influence of this material world in church these last days is so much. It is not something the Christian should ignore or over look. The Christian faith is not about values and cultures of this life - but about heavenly treasures and everlasting life in Christ. Obedience to “God’s command” is saving faith and assurance of salvation. Build your faith and love of God on the “Rock” (Christ’ doctrines) – only such faith and love attracts eternal reward.
Therefore whosoever hear these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it felt not: for it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25).
Overcoming the strategies of anti Christ in today’s church will only take complete submission to basic teachings of Christ Jesus. True Christians conform daily to His fundamental doctrines. In such conformity lies the assurance of salvation. Through knowledge from God’s word - I understand conforming to primary teachings of Christ Jesus such as, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness “Matthew 6: 33” is what actually prepares one for God’s kingdom.
As a kid, many years back, whenever I step my feet into the sanctuary of worship, what comes to my mind is heaven. Maybe because there was nothing to worry about or because I have heard the priest preached about heaven several times. Many adults go to the sanctuary of God consistently but without heaven at heart. While others go to church with one ulterior motive or the other. Some still allow the fear of the Lord to overwhelm them despite anxieties and worries of this life. Christ expects us to seek His kingdom consistently above all things no matter the troubles of this world.
In the other words, salvation and eternal life should be the ultimate purpose of going to church despite temptations of this life which confronts the Christian on daily basis. If not, the flesh may want to take advantage of these earthly troubles thereby overpower the soul, and rule over the Christian through anxieties, pains and worries of this life. The ultimate purpose of salvation is eternal life in Christ not comforts of this world and vanities of this life.
Matthew 10: 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
The closest enemy of the human soul is flesh. Flesh has ruined countless number of souls in this world since the fall of man in Eden. Nevertheless, the Christian strives daily to yield to yearnings of the Holy Spirit without hesitations. When the flesh is subdued and kept under control, Satan is rendered handicapped and frustrated to an extent. We are in the world, but not of this world. Real Christians understand the ultimate purpose of salvation and take their pursuit of God’s kingdom very serious. They enter in at the strait gate and follow the narrow way which leads to life.
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