According to the word of God, there is a process that begins when a person comes to believe in God; at that point, the spirit of the person is quickened by divine power and authority; there comes an unveiling of the knowledge of God that has been hidden up to that time; our dead spirits are quickened into life and we become living spirits as well as living souls in living bodies. Contrary to what many teach, we are not “saved”, but we have an awareness of a spiritual world that we never had before and which all living spirits have, including the demons of hell. The Word of God makes sense to us for the first time and the path to salvation is open to us.
In that condition, we are presented with the same choices that were given to our fleshly father, Adam; two ways open up before us; “the ways of God” which Jesus described as “the narrow way that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14), and the ways of man which Jesus described as “the broad way that leads to utter ruin” (Matthew 7:13). Further, according to Jesus, entrance to the narrow way is by a narrow gate and few find it, while entrance upon the broad way is by a wide gate and many find it. Bear in mind that Jesus is speaking here of those people who have been called by God; He is not speaking of people of the world because they do not enter either gate; He is saying that when we are called, there are two gates presented to us and we must choose between them.
These two ways for believers can be characterised in another way; the narrow way is for those who choose to follow Jesus; that is to say, they deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34); His cross led to His death and so must ours; we come to “hear His voice and He knows us and we follow Him” (John 10:27); only as we are dead to self can He live in us; so the narrow way is the way of death of self.
The other way is the way of modern Christianity, the aim of which is to make the old man a better man; in which the old man does not have to die but is encouraged instead to improve and become a better man than he was; this is the way of self-preservation and self-improvement; on this way you are asked to follow the doctrines of men and keep religious observances, such as attendance at religious meeting places, tithing, supporting hireling preachers etc. It is very natural to follow this way because almost every other Christian you know is on it and you are not asked to embrace the crucifixion of self which, to the carnal mind, seems very unnatural indeed. But Jesus said that “if you don’t take up your cross and follow Him you are not worthy of Him” (Matthew 10:38) and Paul wrote; “If you have died with Christ ….. why, ….. do you submit yourself to decrees ……..in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?……… These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion.. ..…” (Colossians 2:20-23).
The truth is that salvation can only be found in Christ, not in Christianity; this is the best kept secret in the spiritual world and the demons of hell do their utmost to keep this truth hidden from those whom God calls to be His. It is just as it was in the days of His flesh when He spoke to His people in these terms:
“And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out” (Luke 13:23-28).
Eternal life is the gift of God; it is more than the gift from God; it is the gift of God Himself. Eternal life has absolutely nothing to do with time so to regard it as something that is reserved for the future is to miss the point; eternal life is the life that Jesus lived in this world and it is that eternal life that is manifested in our mortal flesh when we accept the righteous judgement of God upon ourselves and undertake the sentence – death of self. The only source of life is Christ; life does not exist outside Him; to the extent that we are outside Christ we are dead. But we can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, if we will take hold of it.
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5).