Back in 2008 I wrote a book called The Wide Gate Convert. I never quite finished or published the book, but I still have a lot of passion for the material in it. Today I want to look at some of these things.
The book is based on a passage in Matthew Chapter 7:
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 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)
The strait gate leads to life and Heaven, and the wide gate leads to destruction and Hell. On Friday I asked, Who do you think operates the wide gate? It is the Devil, and you can be sure he will not put the truth on the sign at the entrance. The sign will not say, come through this gate, it will lead you to Hell. The sign will say something like, This is the religion that will lead you to Heaven. Sadly it will not lead you there.
Many have gone in through the wide gate, the gate of religion. They think they have it all settled and they will find their way to Heaven. It is not just about following a false religion, The wide gate convert may be a church member. He or she may have been sitting on the same pew as you last Sunday. In fact, he could have been preaching to you last week. It is possible that you, the reader, could be a Wide Gate convert and not be aware of it yet.
These are people who may have converted to “Christianity” without having a true salvation experience. The fact is that when people are saved, God changes them. God never saved anyone He didn’t change.
Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
When a person is saved, he doesn’t get something new, he becomes something new. There are many who call themselves Christians in our churches and the power of God is not evident in them. There is no fruit of repentance in their lives.
When I was attending Bible College in the late 80’s in Springfield, Missouri there was an incident that led the news for about 2 weeks. A middle-aged man was shot to death in a woman’s apartment. As the days passed the story grew with some startling revelations. The man that was shot was an intruder. Apparently he broke into the young woman’s apartment and waited for her to return. Upon her return he proceeded to rape her. With the ensuing struggle she managed to get to her gun and shot the man dead. What shocked the community was that the man was a family man and an upstanding member of the community. He had a wife and children. Then came the bombshell, we learned the criminal was also a deacon in a respected Baptist church in the city. Everyone was dumbfounded. How could a Christian, much less a deacon, commit such heinous acts?
How many times have we heard stories like this? We hear all too often about horrible things that are done by those who call themselves Christians. We often say that these people are backslidden and have fallen morally.
I can’t tell you the number of pastors I know that are no longer in the ministry because they have fallen morally. There are two pastors that I know very well who have fallen into sodomy.
I think we need to pay attention to what the Lord said through John in 1 John Chapter 2:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19)
Those who fall like this may not be backsliders, they may have never been truly saved in the first place. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 7:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23)
This is one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible. It is one thing when a person lives their life in rebellion against God, shaking their fist in His face, and then finding themselves in Hell at the end of their lives. They didn’t believe the preachers and those who told them about Christ, they chose the path of rebellion.
It is quite another thing for those who followed a religion, even one that claimed to be Christian, and at the end of their lives find they didn’t get it right. They didn’t enter in at the narrow gate, they went through the wide gate of religion. They either were not taught right, got caught up in a false religion, or were filled with their own self*righteousness. They believed in Jesus and the things in the Bible, but they had not turned (repented) from their own efforts to save themselves (dead works). Jesus said that many will say they had done many good things in His name, and He will say that He never knew them. Many means that there will be a lot of religious people who tried to follow God’s principles, and who will find themselves in Hell.
I did some research back in 2008, at the time he population of the world was 6.7 billion people, and according to many different organizations, I found that 51% of the population of the world were worshiping other gods. This would be those like Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, and so forth. This means that 51% of the population has entered in at the wide gate of false religion. Some 16% claim no religion at all. This leaves 33% that claims to be Christian. In this number, cult groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and Mormons, are included. They speak of Jesus as a savior but deny him as God incarnate. A large chunk of this thirty-three percent would include denominations like Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxy, which teach the deity of Christ, but teach a works based salvation. All of these have also been ushered into the wide gate of false religion.
All of these false religions teach some form of salvation through works or personal merit. If a person believes that his good works are part of his salvation, he has rejected the grace of God, and is not saved.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If we could earn our way to Heaven by our works, there would have been no need for Jesus to die on the cross. Since we cannot be good enough to earn our salvation, Jesus had to come and offer Himself on the cross to pay our sin debt. Listen to what God thinks about our good works.
But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
I pray that you have entered in at the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. I pray that you have not been deceived by the glitter of the wide gate. What a tragedy it would be to live this life and find that you have entered in at the wide gate.
Tomorrow I will introduce you to the narrow gate, so be sure to come back.
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