The Book of Matthew

Thursday: False Roads

Matthew 7:13-14 In this week’s lessons, we see that it is everyone’s need to come to Christ for salvation, and that to live along the broad path only leads to destruction.
Theme
False Roads

Just as men cannot come to the Lord Jesus Christ through nature, in the same way, men cannot find God in mere pious thoughts or religion. That is, they will not find God in the mere performance of certain religious duties, whether this is the following of the path to Nirvana, whether it is a life of meditation, whether it is the religion of “speed,” LSD, or heroin, or even whether it is the ceremonial aspects of Christianity. God has written a No over all human efforts to be religious in order that he might write a Yes over all who abandon religion and turn to Him in Christ. Religion is your seeking after a god in your own image. Christianity is God’s seeking you and moving to redeem you by the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus.

Neither can men find God through morality, either by attempting to live up to God’s standard or by attempting to live up to their own. Men fall short of all standards. The first three chapters of Romans are written to show that no man will find God in any way but through Christ. Even the man with the high moral standards is included along with the rest. Paul describes the different types of persons—the pagan man, the moral man, and the religious man—but he concludes with a word of condemnation against all human goodness: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12). Our natural ways are not real ways to the Father.

And yet, there is a way. The way is Jesus. You and I have sinned, in little ways or in big ways (it does not matter which), and sin keeps us from God. Unless sin is removed, we shall never get into His heaven. In fact, God will not even let us close to it. On the other hand, if we ourselves bear a just punishment for sin, then we cannot get to heaven either. For the punishment of sin is itself to be separated from God. What is the solution? The solution is that God provided Jesus Christ as a substitute for us, that He died, not for His own sin (because He did not have any), but for your sin and mine. God will not punish the same sin twice. Consequently, if you will believe that Jesus died for you, if you will acknowledge Him as your substitute, then God will remove your sin forever and it will be correct to say that you have passed over the narrow way through the narrow gate into salvation.

Do not make the mistake of counting upon your moral record as a way of coming to God. It is your record that gets you into trouble in the first place. Your record will condemn you, no matter how good you think you are or how good you appear in other men’s eyes. Count on the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, that He did what no other person would do. And accept the fact that He by His death provided the way for simple, sinful people like you and me to enter heaven.

Thou art the Way: to thee alone

From sin and death we flee;

And he who would the Father seek

Must seek him, Lord, by thee.

Thou art the Truth: thy word alone

True wisdom can impart;

Thou only canst inform the mind,

And purify the heart.

Thou art the life: the rending tomb

Proclaims thy conquering arm,

And those who put their trust in thee

Nor death nor hell shall harm.

Thou art the way, the Truth, the Life:

Grant us that way to know,

That Truth to keep, that life to win,

Whose joys eternal flow.

Study Questions
  1. What religious actions do people perform rather than following Christianity? What characterizes these various religious ideas, and how does Christianity differ from them?
  2. How can certain ceremonial aspects of Christianity lead to a false sense of being right with God?
  3. Why is morality not enough to please God?
Application

Key Point: Religion is your seeking after a god in your own image. Christianity is God’s seeking you and moving to redeem you by the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus.

Prayer: Pray daily for any family members or friends who have a wrong view of who the true God is, and who are trying to approach Him through means that cannot bring salvation.

For Further Study: To learn more about this narrow way, download for free and listen to Philip Ryken’s message, “One Narrow Door.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

For Further Study: The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering an excellent study on the exclusive truth of Christianity. Order your copy of Only One Way, and save over 25% off the regular price.

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