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Puritan Catechism Question #52 - Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer - The Fifth Commandment is, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12).
Devotional Thoughts Jesus tells us plainly that there are two ways to eternal life! It's true. There are two paths, two roads, two ways to the everlasting. As we studied the week before Easter, there is the Broad Way, and as we see in today's verse for study, there is the Narrow Way. Lest we forget, both ways do end in eternal life. The Broad Way, the wrong way, the easy way, the way centered on self fulfillment - that way leads to eternal life suffering the wrath of God for our sin. In fact, it is eternal death, the second death, always dying but never finally dead. There is no relief, no rest, no respite. Only suffering for our sin. The other way, the Narrow Way, leads as we will see today to life eternal, full of abundant blessing in the presence of God, forgiven of our sins and afforded the great opportunity to praise and worship and serve Him forever.
What is it that makes the narrow way narrow? Why does Jesus refer to it as such?
It is different than the Broad Way. It is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. It is trying, there are tests, suffering, and trials. We will be forsaken and persecuted, abandoned and ridiculed. All because the world hates Jesus Christ, and as we walk with Him and live for Him they will come to hate us too.
It is hard to find! Indeed, unless God through His Spirit draws us we would never find the Way (John 6:44). Left on our own we are dead in sin, blinded to the truth, and incapable on our own to even desire to come to Christ (1 Cor 2:14).
It is difficult to follow! This Narrow Way gives us no room for error. That is correct - for we cannot look to the right or the left (Deut 5:32) and we have nowhere to go other than forward or back. We are either pressing on (Phil 3:12, 14) or we are backsliding (Jer 3:22; 14:7).
It is found by few. You have heard the verse "Many are called but few chosen" (Matt 22:14). What does that mean? It is explained here. There are few who find the Narrow Way. Many are called in that the gospel call goes out to all men everywhere to repent of their sin and turn to Christ in faith. But few are chosen. Few are those who find the Narrow Way.
But wait, we might point out that Jesus says to us, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Further, we have heard in the verses that follow, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:29-30). See - His yoke is easy. The burden is light.
Let us check our perspective. Left on our own all we have to offer, all our own righteousness is a filthy rag in God's holy sight. So how can this Narrow, Difficult Way be the same as the easy yoke and light burden? Jesus tells us in John 15:4-5, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." Get that? It is easy and light because we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13). Without Him it says we can do nothing. Not some things. Not a few things. No, without Christ we can do nothing! So the yoke is easy and the burden light because the life we now live He lives through us (Gal 2:20).
The call to walk this Narrow Way is a call to self denial (Luke 9:23), self abandonment (Matt 10:39), indeed self sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2)! It is hard. It is impossible without Christ. For He is the Only Way to the Father.
Get that? There are not two ways to God. There are not many ways to God. There is One Way Only and that Way is Jesus Christ. It is not as though God will allow any to enter in who are not coming through His Son.
As Jesus explained to His disciples, a rich man, who has all his needs provided for and sees no lack, finds salvation hard! How hard? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! (Matt 19:24). Upon hearing this the disciples immediately asked, "Who then can be saved?"
You see, it was not as if they believed everyone was going to heaven. Nor was it that most people were going to heaven. No. When Jesus explained the difficulty of the Way to salvation their response was one of seeing it as impossible for anyone to be saved! "Who then can be saved?" (Matt 19:25).
And the reply was that "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt 19:26)
We have an impossible salvation. Not one we can buy, earn, attain, merit, or that we will ever deserve. It is, from a human standpoint an Impossible Way. That is the degree of narrowness to the gospel. Few find it indeed.
Have you found it? Have you found the One and Only Way to salvation? His name is Jesus, and He is the Living Way. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Following Him will cost you your life. But He has given you His life in return!!
Links for Further Study (links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)