Narrow Path Of Grace
Matt 7:13-14 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: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV)
Jesus used the metaphor of a narrow path to describe the life His followers must live in His presence. Being born-again is the gate to the narrow path of Christ. The path of Christ is not a doctrine memorized and confessed, its a total life dedicated to Christ and His kingdom. Our church activity in only one small facet of our journey down the narrow path that leads to life in Christ.
Jesus also taught that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. We assume that the only destruction being describe by Jesus is the eternal damnation of hell, but this word has another definition.
apoleia (ap-o'-li-a/684); from a presumed derivative of 622; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): KJV-- damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste. 684 apoleia-
Destruction: (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)
1) destroying, utter destruction; used of vessels
2) a perishing, ruin, destruction
a) used of money
b) the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell
Waste/Destruction (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
A. Noun: apoleia (684), "destruction," is translated "waste" in (Mt 26:8; Mk 14:4).
B. Verbs: (1) diaskorpizo (1287), "to scatter abroad," is used metaphorically of "squandering property," (Luke 15:13; 16:1) (2) portheo (4199), "to ravage," is rendered "wasted" in (Gal. 1:13) (3) lumaino (3075), "to outrage, maltreat," is used in the middle voice in (Acts 8:3), of Saul's treatment of the church, RV, "laid waste"
No doubt this Greek word has the application of the eternal misery of hell, but the destruction of hell is only one small portion of this definition. The Greek word also speaks of that which is ruined or lost, or to be scattered abroad. In regards to financial matters this Greek word also has the application of money being squandered.
Consider with me the possibility that Christians can also follow the broad way that leads to destruction (ruin, loss, and squandered opportunities). Are these Christians going to hell? No! Absolutely not! The blood of Christ has redeemed their souls, but the life of religious world conformity has robbed them of the joys found in Christ on the narrow path. We are admonished by Christ to seek first His kingdom (Mt 6:33), therefore we can conclude that the narrow path is the path of the kingdom of God and His Lordship.
According to Grace
Rom 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: (5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; (7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; (8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (KJV)
Rom 12:5-6 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (6) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (NIV)
We read in these verses that each Christian has spiritual gifts given to each of us by the sovereign authority of grace. We are also instructed that the body of Christ is comprised of several members becoming one body. The diversity of the body of Christ is administrated to by Grace.
charis (khar'-ece/5485); from 5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): KJV-- acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). 5485 charis-
We see from this Greek word that grace is much more than Gods unmerited favor, its His divine influence upon our hearts and its reflection in our lives. Consider with me the possibility that the mission of Grace is to empower the body of Christ with giftings and ministry. If this point is true, then each and every person who has received Gods divine grace will also be compelled to discover his/her personal body life placement. We must understand that the goal of the Holy Spirit is to have a functioning body with every joint providing to the corporate supply(Eph 4:16).
We also read in these verses that there is a diversity of gifts and ministries found in the body of Christ. But we also are admonished to wait on our ministry with patience. Why should we wait on our ministry if we have been gifted by Grace to do the work of the ministry?
2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV)
Grace is a growing, living divine influence on our hearts. We must allow grace to mature our spiritual walk in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is important we understand that there is a very distinct and noticeable difference between the gift of grace, and the ministry fostered by grace.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (KJV)
The gifts of God are given by the Spirit of Grace to the body of Christ without respect of any person. But the ministry of Grace can only come through a yielded servant heart. The gifts are given but the ministry is nurtured by the Holy Spirit.
Its so important we find our place in the body of Christ, and allow Gods grace to put us to work in His kingdom. What gifts has the Holy Spirit given to us to be used in the work of His kingdom?
Spirit of Grace
Zech 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (KJV)
We might think of grace as an unmerited favorable opinion God might have of us. Should this be the perception we have of grace then, in ignorance, we are missing the truth and function of grace. Notice that on two occasions the Bible refers to grace and a divine Spirit, a living person not an opinion. Should we accept the fact that grace is Gods divine influence then we must conclude that the Spirit of Grace is the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
One point must be understood. We all have receive a divine measure of faith by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Grace whose main function nurture and mature the body of Christ. Every blood bought person has this basic seed of faith that will grow and produce the fruit of grace. We must see this seed of faith as the divine DNA of grace. God has a plan and ministry for each new convert that was implanted in our hearts with the seed of faith. Our spiritual destiny and narrow path is plotted by the divine DNA of grace found in the seed of faith. God has a divine master plan for the body of Christ recorded in His divine DNA (2Peter 1:4) and we have a call from God based upon our divine DNA.
Gods Master Plan
1 Cor 3:10-11 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (KJV)
The Apostle Paul understood this spiritual principle. He realized that the Spirit of Grace had ordained him to be a wise masterbuilder in which his responsibility was to lay the foundation of the body of Christ on the person of Jesus Christ not on Jewish law or custom. In order for Paul to be a wise masterbuilder we must assume that God has a master plan for His Church. Since God has a master plan for the body of Christ, then we must realize that His master plan must include each blood bought saint of God throughout all time. Simply stated, Gods master plan must include you and me. We also must soberly realize that we have a personal responsibility to Gods divine master plan; and the key to unlocking our place in His master plan is through the humble servant attitude.
Unity of Faith
Eph 4:7-13 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (KJV)
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (KJV)
Doing the work of the ministry is the holy unction of divine grace. Jesus has given gifts to the body of Christ through the power of grace. Some are called to the fivefold ministry (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher) while other saints are called to Godly administrations and other servant gifts and ministries (Rom 12:6-8). We all strive to build the body of Christ in the unity of the faith and knowledge in Christ. The fullness of Christ is the goal of the body of Christ and we can only reach our goal through the power and plan of grace. The body can only increase in love when each and every joint yields to the working of grace and become tools of divine edification and love. Every part must supply in order for the body to increase in love. This edification can only happen as we yield to our divine call and gifting fostered by Gods divine DNA.
Ministers of Grace
1 Pet 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (KJV)
1 Pet 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (NIV)
The Apostle Peter also understood that every person must minister from their divine DNA gifting. It is so important we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our divine gifts, because our success in ministry is directly connected to our personal gift. Many are the pastors who have failed because of the lack of divine gifting.
Peter also understood that the servant heart is key to our gift and Gods divine master plan. As we have received our gifts we must serve each other faithfully as true servants of God. This verse also clear established the fact that we all are stewards of Gods manifold grace. This point must be clearly understood, we all are gifted in God through the work of grace. No person can say they have no ministry or divine gift, because this is not true. We are saved by grace, then grace has gifted us to do the work of the ministry (Eph 2:5-7), and we are stewards of Gods manifold grace.
Reference: Rom 1:5; 5:15, 17; 11:5; 15:15-16; Gal 1:15-16; Eph 1:6-9; 2:5-7; 3:7-8; 4:29; Heb 2:9; Titus 2:11; 2Tim 1:9
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)
We read that well spring and fountain of grace is found at the throne of God. This would be logical since Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of our faith, is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2)
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)
With the presence of Jesus Christ the throne of God becomes the throne of grace. We notice from this verse that the one of the primary functions of Jesus is to develop our faith, therefore we can conclude that faith is an absolute key to discovering the master plan of grace. We are encouraged by the Holy Spirit to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and more grace.
An important point must be understood in these verses. The responsibility to come to the throne of grace is belongs to us. We must draw near with faith and accept the divine influence upon our hearts of grace. We cannot have the throne without the LORD who sits on the throne. To discover the power of Gods grace and His master plan for our lives we first must yield to His Lordship. The self absorbed Christian who will not yield to the Holy Spirit and be an active participant in Christs kingdom will have great difficulty discovering Gods divine master plan of grace.
Access by Faith
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (KJV)
2 Cor 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (KJV)
1 Tim 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
We have read that Jesus Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith. Now we read that we have access into Gods divine grace through the faith we exercise. Faith is more than the confession of the truths we hold sacred, it is a holy trust and confidence in God and His master plan.
Should we desire to discover our part in Gods master plan of grace we must approach His throne with faith, trust, and confidence. The first key we must learn is to reach out to God with faith.
Access by Righteousness
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
The Bible also teaches that grace has the freedom to influence our lives through the righteousness of Christ in us. We are taught in the book of Romans that faith is the key to the revelation of Gods righteousness in us.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (KJV)
Faith is the tool used by the Holy Spirit to sanctify our personal lives by and through righteousness. We also have studied that God has given every blood bought Christian a measure of faith, and Jesus used the symbol of a mustard seed to describe this holy measure (Mt 17:20). Each and every saint of God was implanted with a seed of faith at new birth, and in this seed is the divine DNA of grace.
We grow from faith to faith because faith is a living, growing portion of Gods divine nature. The more faith is allowed to grow in us the more the righteousness of Christ will surface as spiritual fruit in our personalities. The fruit of righteousness will be the natural by-produce of faith being exercised and developed.
Access by Humility
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (KJV)
2 Cor 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (KJV)
James 4:6-7 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (KJV)
1 Pet 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (KJV)
Gods grace is perfected in our lives through human weakness and humility. The strength of man is not in his muscles, joints, and tendons, it is found in the arrogance of human pride. Humility is also a fruit of divine faith. We read that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble of heart. True humility is found in the heart of a servant of God. The doorway into the master plan of Gods grace is the heart of a servant, and the key that unlocks this door is faith mixed with humility.
Access by Truth
Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: (KJV)
1 Pet 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (KJV)
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)
We are also taught in these verses that we walk in the power of divine grace by experiencing the freedom of divine truth. Jesus taught us that should we continue in His word we will know the truth and its freedom. Our first assumption is the understanding of basic Christian doctrine will set us free. I agree with this concept, but we must not limit its scope. We may memorize volumes of Christian dogma, but never see ourselves in the light of divine truth. We encounter truth also when we come face to face with our real selves. We know the truth and its freedom when we confess our faults one to another.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
The more we confront our real selves in the power of honest confession, the more we will experience the freedom of divine truth and release the divine master plan of grace in our lives. The freedom of truth comes with honest confession. In order to have honest confession we first must acknowledge the truth of our faults.
Reference: Rom 6:14; 2Cor 9:8; Col 4:6
Gal 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (KJV)
Paul made an interesting declaration in this verse. He stated that he does not frustrate the grace of God. If grace was only Gods unmerited favor; how could we frustrate that which is not earned? Once we put grace into the area of influence on our hearts of the divine DNA nature, and its impact on His master plan, then we should see how its possible to frustrate the working of grace.
Paul realized that human law, plan, strategy, and mission cannot reside with grace. Human flesh cannot do the work of God by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Grace can only work in the hearts of yielded servants, because the human ego is to inflected with pride.
1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (KJV)
2 Cor 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (KJV)
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (KJV)
These three verses indicate that its possible to fall from grace and to receive it in vain. Those who seek to justify themselves by adherence to human religious law have fallen from grace into the quagmire of religious legalism and justification. Faith is the key to the doorway of servanthood into the master plan of grace. Religious legalism frustrates the divine DNA of grace by frustrating the working of faith. Without faith its impossible to please God (Heb 11:6), because His master plan can only work by faith.
Root of Bitterness
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (KJV)
The author of Hebrews that a root of bitterness is a sure way to fall from grace. Bitterness is festering unforgiveness, a grudge being held, and a horrid cancer to our spiritual life and faith. This verse clearly stated that bitter can defile a person to the holy work of God.
Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (KJV)
Jesus taught that the lack of forgiveness is the only sin that could disqualify us from the forgiveness of God, our Father. Now it should be obvious why the root of bitterness could cause a man or woman to fall from grace.
Eph 4:30-31 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (KJV)
James 3:14-16 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (KJV)
Bitterness also causes grief to the Holy Spirit, because it frustrates the work of grace, and disqualifies us from Gods divine master plan. James also warned us that bitterness is the root of envy and strife in our lives; and where we find strife we find confusion and every evil work. How much pain and suffering the body of Christ has endured because of envy, strife, and bitterness?
Fruit of Peace
Gal 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Pet 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (KJV)
Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (KJV)
How can we walk in the divine peace of God? The only way we can experience true is peace is to yield to the servant attitude and allow the Holy Spirit to release in us our divine potential and our place in Gods master plan.