There is a broad way leading to destruction, a narrow way leading to life, and a highway of holiness. We read of these “ways” in Matthew and Isaiah:
“Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it.”–Matthew 7:13,14
“And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the way of holiness.”–Isaiah 35:8
Six thousand years ago in Eden, when Adam disobeyed God and was condemned to death, he started upon this downward road. After 930 years, Adam reached its end–destruction, death. All of Adam’s race were born upon this road leading to death and share in Adam’s sentence, “Thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) As years and centuries have rolled on, the downward path has become more and more smoothly worn, causing the race to speed more rapidly to destruction; daily the way becomes more glazed and slippery with sin. Not only does the way grow more slippery, but mankind daily loses the power of resistance. Today’s average length of human life is only a small fraction of Adam’s. Men reach the end of the road– destruction–much quicker than the first man.
Cannot one resist the downward, sinful tendency and, by determined effort, escape from this way leading to destruction? Some have tried.
During the past six thousand years a comparatively few have tried to change their course and retrace their steps. Though their efforts have been commendable, they have not been successful. It is like a man swimming against a current too swift for him; he is carried downstream in spite of his best efforts. Sin and death have reigned relentlessly over mankind, and driven them down this broad road to destruction.
If no one can escape this way of death by his best efforts, it would seem that the situation is hopeless; all must go to destruction. But this is not so because a new way has been opened, the “narrow way” that leads to life instead of death. This way has been open for nearly two thousand years, but comparatively few have found it. It is a very exclusive path because a person does not enter it based upon his own worthiness, but by special invitation. This is why it is described as “narrow” or limited, having a “strait” or difficult “gate” which few find and enter.
We are not to think that all except the few who walk the “narrow way” are condemned to everlasting destruction. There is another “way” called “the way of holiness.” (Isaiah 35:8)
This is the “highway,” an easier way that all the rest of mankind will eventually take. It also leads to life and will be open to all at a time still future.
Let us consider the very special “narrow way” to which some are now invited, called “a new and living way.” (Hebrews 10:20) Although the “narrow way” and the “highway” both lead to life, the “narrow way” leads to a stupendously higher form of life than the “highway.” The invitation to walk in this way is the most wonderful gift ever offered to anyone. It is to those who are so walking, to the true Christian, that Peter refers when he says that there “are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world.” (2 Peter 1:4) Those who walk this “way” are promised the highest form of life, a spirit life, with immortal divine bodies of the same nature as their Lord. Such are described as those who “seek for glory, and honor, and immortality.” (Romans 2:7) How high an honor this is! We are told, “No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God.” (Hebrews 5:4)
Is an invitation to walk the way leading to this great reward given only to the wisest, the most important and high-ranking people of the world? Not at all. On the contrary, the apostle Paul tells us:
“Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise.”–1 Corinthians 1:26,27
Consideration is not given to race or nationality. Those who attain the divine nature are selected “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
The basis of any approach to life is Jesus Christ and this applies to the “narrow way.” Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) When Adam disobeyed God and caused the whole race to enter the broad, downward road to destruction, God did not abandon mankind. Although he permitted evil conditions to prevail for a time to teach valuable lessons, he still loved his human creation. He loved mankind so much that he provided a redeemer from death.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”–John 3:16
By God’s arrangement, Jesus came to earth as a man and gave his life as the ransom price for Adam and his race. This guarantees “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)
Those who walk the “narrow way” receive the merit of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice beforehand so they may be justified in God’s sight. They consecrate to God and become acceptable sacrifices themselves. These are said to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. As we read, “It is a faithful saying; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”–2 Timothy 2:11,12
The promise to these is, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) When this special church class is complete, the merit of Jesus ransom sacrifice will be applied to all others. Then that third way, the wonderful “highway of holiness,” will be opened. (See Isaiah 35:8-10)
What will that “highway” will be like? We read that “it shall be called the way of holiness.” It is a way that leads to righteousness. It is God’s kingdom under Christ, soon to be fully established on earth, that will lead the people to righteousness and human perfection.
Then it says, “The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those.” This means that it is the purpose of God’s kingdom to cleanse the unclean, to take away their sins. When the kingdom has done its work, there will be no more sin. No person who remains unclean will pass completely through that kingdom.
Then it says, “The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Under Christ’s benevolent government, the way to righteousness will be made so plain and simple that even those who are foolish and inclined to stray will make no mistake. “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon.” We read that now “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) In that kingdom this will no longer be the case. Satan will be restrained. His evil influence will not be felt on that “highway.” Neither will the “ravenous beasts” of tyranny, injustice, violence and oppression be found there. Instead there will be peace and tranquility, security and love.
“But the redeemed shall walk there; and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.”
The “ransomed” are those for whom Christ died, and Christ “tasted death for every man.” These are “the ransomed of the Lord” who shall return from the dead in a great resurrection. They will come to “Zion,” which means the heavenly kingdom that will then rule the world. What a time of singing and joy it will be! Families parted by death will be reunited; pain, sickness, sin and death will be no more; happiness will fill the earth. “They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!”