Vol. 7, No. 12
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Spiritually, there are two possible roads between which every accountable soul makes a choice. Jesus said, "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 word "way" in this passage means "road." Christians need to select the high road to heaven!
Taking the high road to heaven sometimes means refusing to be detoured by the temptation to berate those who malign or otherwise harm us; take Jesus for instance:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:21-24)
Rather than stooping down to the level of those who make themselves the enemies of Christians (Galatians 4:16), Christians need to follow the lead of Jesus when he said:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)
An interesting contrast occurs between the Manual of Discipline (one of the non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Gospel of Christ, in that new members of the Qumran community were required to pledge their hatred for their enemies, but Jesus taught that we must love our enemies. When Jesus prefaced his statement above with "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy" (Matthew 5:43), our Lord may have been quoting from the Essene creed, the Manual of Discipline. The Essenes were a first century Jewish sect, comparable to the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Taking the high road to heaven sometimes means that we must take a bridge or a span across great ravines, in the depths of which we can see sinful ways or the low road to hell. Christians must endeavor to stay on the high road to heaven, keeping the course straight (and strait) and between the ditches of digression and out of the valleys of sinful pleasure. Apostasy from faithful Christianity is not only possible, but the spiritual corpses of fallen saints liter the landscape near and far.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2:20-22)
Christians do not only lapse from faithful attention to Christianity (Hebrews 10:25), often they commit some of the most heinous immoralities (1 Corinthians 5:1; Jude 23).
Christians need to select the high road to heaven! Furthermore, Christians need to stay on the high road to heaven. Are you on the high road to heaven?