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Two Gates (2004-01-10 - 1:34 p.m.)

I started out this year reading The MacArthur Daily Bible. This is very similar to a publication that has been around for many years, called The One Year Bible. Both books take the Bible and divide it into easily readable, daily portions. You get a couple or three chapters of Old Testament, a small piece of Psalms and Proverbs, then a portion of New Testament. All the sections proceed in the order of the books of the Bible. The difference is that, in John MacArthur's book, he offeres commentary, as well as thoughtful questions at the end of each day. So far, I have managed to keep up and have read each day. If you know me at all, you know that's a miracle, even for only 9 days.

Yesterday's Daily Bible reading contained the New Testament portion where Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount. He began the Sermon with what is commonly called "the Beatitudes." I noticed the last time I read these that the first "beatitude" essentially deals with the most important thing, salvation. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The poor in spirit are those who recognize that they are "spiritually bankrupt." They have no hope and they know it. Once a person comes to that realization, doing something about it is easy. This is where calling on the name of the Lord comes in. Anyway, it is significant that this beatitude is first. Without salvation, the rest of the Sermon on the Mount is pointless.

Well, in yesterday's reading, Jesus concludes the Sermon with the same topic which opened it; salvation. He describes two gates; one narrow and one broad. He very clearly shows the difference between the road to salvation and the road to destruction. Problem is, from the the outside, both of these gates appear very similar. The only difference is their size. I can imagine a sign over each gate that says "Road to heaven!" I mean, if Satan is going to deceive you, he isn't going to tell you that his gate goes to hell, now is he?? This is why we needed Jesus to tell us which gate was the right one.

I can also imagine that there are places where these two paths almost intermingle. I approach this subject carefully, because I don't want to give the impression that you can start out on the correct path and jump over to the wrong one. Let me be very clear. I firmly believe that you cannot lose your salvation. So there's no going back to the wrong path. I do believe, however, that a Christian can stray from the right path for a season. But God always brings us back. Because that's the kind of God he is.

Love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

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