Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.
I am sure this is a verse that we are all familiar with. But for anyone that says they are a Christian you still need to beware of the road that leads to destruction.
Hebrews 2:1 We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him
Hebrews 3:15 As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. 16 For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it really all who came out of Egypt under Moses? 17 And with whom was He “provoked for 40 years”? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did He “swear that they would not enter His rest,” if not those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
This is a real warning for those who make a profession of faith to not turn away from God. This should raise a question in us because for a number of those who profess to be a Christian they think once that profession of faith is made they are saved and nothing can take that from them. We could debate if that profession of faith was sincere and real from the beginning. And I would agree, I don’t believe all professions of faith are real and that belief is based in scripture as we see in Matthew.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The fact remains the warnings we find in Hebrews are pointing out the need for perseverance to those who profess faith in Christ. To believe in the Gospel and the written word of God is life changing. But belief has to be accompanied by faith they are not mutually exclusive, they are both necessary.
The bible shows us a whole group who left Egypt with a strong faith but who turned away from God and none were permitted to enter the Promised Land. I don’t feel as if I need to reiterate scripture here but we can look at a couple more verses that reinforces the need for perseverance in order to finish the race or to stay on the narrow path.
Hebrews 3:6 But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.
Hebrews 6:11 Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.
In Chapter 15 of Exodus we see the people rejoicing and singing a song of redemption and then in Chapter 16 the people are signing another song but this time one of complaint and ungratefulness. This is a good picture of what not following through on ones faith with perseverance looks like.
We can easily say not me, I won’t turn away. How often have you questioned your faith? Or the faith of those around you that call themselves Christians. It could be someone who has even left the church, that appeared to have it all together. I believe if we are truly honest we will find that we have all questioned our faith before.
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it. 2 For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.
A persistent faith will remember the warnings that are in scripture. And in times of trouble will turn to God and His word. How do we ensure that we keep from drifting away from God?
The answer is found in scripture, as it always is.
Hebrews 1:1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe. 3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
When we are beat down, when we don’t think we can continue on a moment longer, when the burdens of life seem about to break us, when we question our faith. Who do you turn to?
Christ is the heir of all things and that includes us as we are co-heirs with Him. God created everything through His Son and all things have been created by Him and for Him. These truths are what we should be standing on and what we are to have faith in. The creator of all things knows who we are and He knows us by name. Christ is the continuous Glory of God who sustains all things and He became God’s unrepeatable sacrifice for sin. And it is He who sustains us and all of creation. And where do we find Him; seated at the right hand of the Father.
John 18:37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”
The truth of who Jesus Christ is and who we are to Him, comes only from Christ himself. To believe anything less is to believe lies. Jesus tell us what need to hold onto so we won’t become like so many who have drifted away. It is His truths that we need to stand on. To believe is to have faith. But trust is developed through perseverance. Belief is where we start but perseverance and trust is what it takes to finish the race.