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WHAT IS THE NARROW ROAD?

WHAT IS THE NARROW ROAD?

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Silvio

Sent: quinta-feira, 20 de maio de 2004 09:56

To: silvio Cc: contato@caiofabio.com

Subject: O QUE É O CAMINHO ESTREITO?  (WHAT IS THE NARROW ROAD?)

 

 

Dear Caio,

 

Is it “somewhat” as follows that I can say I’m on the narrow road?

 

Does Jesus mean anything else about walking in the narrow road?

 

What’s the meaning of “the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force”?

 

Please look at this text:

 

“The Christians do not differ from other men neither in territory, nor tongue, nor the way they dress.

 

“They do not live in cities of their own, do not use a particular language, nor lead a special way of life.

 

“Their doctrine is not an achievement of men’s restless investigative intellectuality; nor they profess, as some do, a human philosophical system.

 

“Living in Greek or Barbarian cities, according to the design of each one’s fortune, and adapting themselves to the local customs, the way of dressing, eating, and in all the other aspects of their living, they set an example of a wonderful type of social life, which, as confirmed by all, has a certain something of amazing.

 

“They live in their respective homeland, but as foreigners. They take part in all duties as citizens and bear their obligations as foreigners. Any foreign land is homeland to them, and any homeland is a foreign land.

 

“They get married like everyone else and have children, but do not abandon them. They live in the flesh, but not according to the flesh. They spend their lives on the Earth, but are citizens of Heaven. They abide by the established laws, but with their way of living they surpass the laws.

 

“To put it in one sentence, the Christians are to the world what the soul is to the body.”

 

(2nd century a.D. – From an anonymous Christian to a pagan called Diagonetus, describing the Christians’ way of life.)

 

Regards,

Silvio

______________________________________________

 

Reply:

 

 

My beloved brother: Grace and Peace!

 

 

The Way is Narrow because everything focuses on one thing: Jesus and His Grace.

 

Outside … are men’s self-righteousness, superiorities, desires for power and achievements, the moral self-glorifying propaganda, the spirit of accusation and judgment, and the murderous, utilitarian whims toward their neighbors.

 

On the Way, we go in through the Narrow Gate, which is only narrow for those who want to push inside all these things along with themselves.

 

The gate is Narrow because it can only be crossed by the human being who believed in God’s righteousness in his/her behalf … and left everything behind.

 

Leaving everything behind isn’t an outer act; it’s an inner decision.

 

It’s inside me that the trinkets of my self-righteousness and arrogance are, and they outnumber the Pharaohs’ riches.

 

With self-righteousness, nobody can enter. A camel can get in, but the one who is self-assured that he/she can enter with his/her self-righteousness apparatuses — and, what’s more, believes that he/she can go in because of his/her self-righteousness —, this one will remain outside.

 

Notice that when Jesus said this, there were a kind of people who perceived themselves “outside” exactly because, despite their narrowness of vision, they knew that they were trying to push their camels through the eye of a needle: the Pharisees and the wealthy who were self-sufficient in their generous wealth. The tax collectors and sinners — prime candidates for the Wide Gate, the Wide Way of Damnation — were precisely the ones who mostly entered through the Narrow Gate.

 

And why? Because they didn’t bring along a “Truckload” full of supplies of self-righteousness and sets of furniture of moral achievements.

 

The Gate is only Narrow for those who don’t desire to bring along anything other than trust in God’s love. And who is willing to get that undressed?

 

Walking in Grace is to walk on undressed of self-righteousness and to live clothed by Christ. Entering through the Narrow Gate is a miracle. No one can find it by him/herself or on his/her own merit.

 

In fact, entering through the Narrow Gate is an impossible task for humans; it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. That is, it’s impossible.

 

However, Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God”. So, it’s something only impossible for humans. Only God can “make this way wide enough for me to pass”.

 

Peter had an inner conflict when he saw Jesus look at the “rich young ruler”, love him, and then be unimpressed by his record of kindnesses — on the contrary, He said that if it were a matter of “bargaining with God”, then the young man should go back, sell everything, and then come and follow Him. And the man went away sad because he had great wealth.

 

Peter’s question was, “Who then can be saved?” The answer is simple: Nobody.

 

Salvation is in a total lack of faith in self-righteousness and in a total faith in the justifying righteousness/justice that comes from the fact that God is love and is the justifier of people.

 

What did Jesus intend to do? Lead the man astray?

 

Of course not. On the contrary, the Narrow Road must be seen by me as a total impossibility. Only when it is impossible with men we realize that “with God all things are possible”.

 

Therefore, the walkers on the Narrow Road don’t have special diets, garments, particular ways of behaving, or anything else. They’re only human beings compelled by God’s love, and who gave up appearing before God and men wearing fancy allegoric outfits of self-righteousness in a “Mardi Gras” of parades that don’t survive a storm.

 

The Narrow Road is the way of faith, pure and simple; fully confident in the fact that I am a divine solution in my total impossibility of becoming a solution for God.

 

Only when I give up being a human solution for God do I become, in God, by my powerlessness, a part of the divine solution—as this only takes place in a conscience that knows its own incapacity. Then it’s there that Grace settles down as the miracle that enables “this camel here” to pass through the eye of the needle … not even knowing how … and not able to deny the miracle that happened.

 

The rest is human invention. It’s a doctrine of Pharisees about the Narrow Gate, which is one of the most perverted passages in the New Testament. Instead of being the Way of Jesus, it was turned into a narrow stage for pageants of Pharisees, dressed up as Pharisees, and trying to convince the world that salvation is some fashion of garments, morals, customs, cultures, and, above all, self-righteousness.

 

From Jesus’ point of view, that which we call “the Narrow Road” is what He calls “the Broad Way”.

 

About “the Kingdom is taken by force”, that’s just what it means, because the greatest effort a person who desires salvation can make is to give up his/her own personal efforts and believe in the Grace of God.

 

Do you know any other task that could be harder?

 

Oddly enough, to let go of all the weight is the hardest thing for me to do. This is my greatest effort: To make every effort not to make any effort; to trust is most difficult.

 

On this site you can find much more on this subject. If you search, you’ll find it.

 

 

In Him, in whom my salvation was impossible to me, so it became a miracle in Him,

 

Caio

___________________

 

From the original: “O QUE É O CAMINHO ESTREITO?”

Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | February 2007

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version.