Now, the Broad Way….so easy to step on to, so tempting in it’s psuedo-Christian appeal….are your feet on this wide road to destruction? Oh, dear one, I pray not. But if they are…go back to the right way, the Narrow Way, while you may still find it.

http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/heartcry-magazine-archive/post/the-narrow-way-and-the-broad-way

pilgrims-progress1

The Broad Way Defined

The adjective “broad” comes from the Greek word eurúchoros and denotes that which is spacious, broad, wide, or roomy. In the Septuagint, [69] the word is used to denote both freedom and prosperity. [70] In the context of Christ’s teaching, the “broad way” is the way of the great mass of fallen and rebellious humanity that has denounced or ignored God’s claim upon it, thrown off His law, and sought an existence that is independent and autonomous. Several things should be noted about this broad way and the wide gate that leads to it.

First, the broad way is man’s path by default. It is a path upon which every member of fallen humanity is born. The psalmist declared that the wicked are estranged from the womb and go astray from birth. [71] Isaiah the prophet cried out, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” [72] Nothing is required and nothing must be done to find the wide gate or enter upon the broad way. It is the boulevard beside which Adam built his house, and it has become the inheritance of his children. [73] No sooner are we born than we find the path by our fallen instincts, and once found, we discover that it suits our nature. The broad way is man’s by default. No striving is required to enter into it or to continue upon it, but everything is required for him to turn from it. For this reason, Christ admonishes men to strive with the greatest violence to turn from the broad road which leads to destruction and to enter into the narrow gate which leads to life.

Secondly, the broad way is the path of autonomy or self-government. It is the place where the inhabitants of this world take their stand against the Lord and His Christ, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” [74] It is the place where everyone seeks to do what is right in his own eyes. [75] Those who choose the broad way boast that they have freed themselves from the Tyrant of heaven, but in doing so, they have subjected themselves to the tyranny of their own depraved hearts. They have traded a heavenly King for seven billion unworthy usurpers, whose opinions of the truth are as vague as a morning mist and as numerous as the stars in the heavens. They have traded divine law in order to be governed by their own lusts and have become an unrestrained people rushing headlong into destruction. Where there is no vision or revelation of the law the people are unrestrained, [76] and the way that seems right to them will always end in death. [77] They have taken God from the equation of life and have made absolute truth an impossibility. For this reason, the way of the wicked must be broad, because without a moral compass, men are condemned to wander aimlessly without rhyme or reason. In the frightening language of Jude, those who reject God’s sovereignty in favor of their own become like clouds without water, carried along by winds; [78] they are wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; they are wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. [79]

Although this language is dark and foreboding, it applies to the churchman as well as to the atheist and infidel. How many sit in our churches as confessed adherents of Christianity and yet live their lives on the broad way? They do not seek to know God’s will, they do not desire His commands, they do not look for markers of His providence, and they do not walk circumspectly. What is even more troubling is that they can rest undisturbed in the great majority of Evangelical churches and sit unconcerned under the great majority of Evangelical preaching. They make every claim under the sun to belong to the kingdom, but their continued pilgrimage on the broad way disproves their claim.

Thirdly, the broad way is the path of self-gratification. It is a walkway for all who would put “self” before God, this world above the next, the immediate over the eternal, and the carnal in place of the spiritual. It is an avenue that caters to every carnal desire and every aspiration of the fallen flesh. The Scriptures tell us that men are by nature lovers of self, [80] lovers of money, [81] lovers of this world, [82] and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. [83] All of these things are found on the broad way, and those who walk in it are driven by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. [84] For this reason, the broad way may be described as a continuous Vanity Fair, similar to that which was portrayed in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:

“Then I saw in my dreams, that, when they [i.e., Christian and Faithful] were out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair. It is kept all the year long. It bears the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter that vanity, and also because all that is sold there, or that comes there, is vanity; as is the saying of the Wise, ‘All that cometh is vanity.’ This is no newly begun business, but a thing of ancient standing. I will show you the original of it. Almost five thousand years ago, there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City, as these two honest persons are; and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their companions seeing that the path of the pilgrims lay through this town of Vanity, set up a fair; a fair where they would see all sorts of vanity, and it should last all the year long. Therefore at this fair are all such things sold as houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not. At this fair there are at all times to be seen jugglings, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.”

The broad way is filled with every sort of superficial distraction designed to keep men from concerning themselves with what really matters. It offers temptations that create and increase cravings in the hearts of carnal men while at the same time decreasing their capacity for satisfaction. It ensnares men both by gross immoralities of the worst sort and by good things, which become deadly idols when set above God. The longer men walk on this boulevard, the farther from God they roam, the more vain they become, and the more barren and fruitless are their lives!

When men see things correctly, they understand that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. [85] When they turn their hearts from this purpose, they lose their divinely appointed dignity. They were created to know God and to explore the infinite wonders of His person and works, but they have chosen to wallow with swine and play with trinkets. They have chosen the downward spiral of the broad road described by the Apostle Paul in the opening chapter of his epistle to the Romans:

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” [86]

We live in a culture of men with voracious appetites for all that is carnal and vain. They are described in Scripture as those whose god is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, and who set their mind on earthly things. [87] They have traded the eternal for the temporal, heaven for earth, and God for self. They walk the broad road, and they spend their money for what is not bread and their wages for what does not satisfy. [88]

The great mass of humanity, including many adherents to Evangelicalism, are on the broad road to destruction. The problem is that there is no clarion call from the Church; there is no warning to the wicked of their impending doom. The broad road of self-gratification is no longer denounced. To the contrary, it is actually defended and promoted! It is even used as a means to attract the carnal multitudes to church! Many “congregations” have become nothing more than a Vanity Fair, and their preachers are nothing more than hawkers of cheap merchandise. Using clever sermonettes like pickaxes and spades, they have redirected the broad way so that the carnal multitudes that attend their churches can pour into heaven with as much boldness as the Puritan-types who take the narrower route. Theirs is a salvation without crosses, afflictions, persecutions, or self-denial. It is a religion of self-realization and self-promotion. It is a business venture with God where one can keep wealth, luxury, extravagance, and ease of life as long as he tithes ten percent. It is a pilgrimage in a broad and spacious lane where the “redeemed” walk arm in arm with the world, where the grace of God is turned into licentiousness, and where the Lordship of Jesus Christ is denied! [89] These things must not be! May God once again grant us preachers and shepherds with true instruction in their mouths and no unrighteousness on their lips, who walk with God in peace and turn many back from iniquity. [90] Let us stand by the gates and cry out to all, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” [91]

Fourthly, the broad way is the path of least resistance. It is the proverbial “going with the flow.” To begin with, there is no opposition from the flesh on the broad way. We do not have to strive to enter in, but as we have already stated, we find ourselves there by default. We were born in sin, [92] were estranged from the womb, and go astray from birth. [93] For this reason, our fallen flesh finds affinity with every fellow rebel it meets upon the broad way and heartily approves of every wrong attitude and activity. We must remember that fallen flesh is hostile toward God and cannot please Him. [94] Instead, it loves the world and willingly hearkens to its voice. The flesh needs no prompting to give free rein to its lust and follow the broad road wherever it leads. Those who would seek to enter upon the road will find no enemy in their flesh, but only a deceptive ally.

Likewise, there is no opposition from the world on the broad way. William Hendriksen writes, “The signs along this wide avenue read, ‘Welcome to each of you and to all your friends, the more the merrier. Travel as you wish and as fast as you wish. There are no restrictions.’” [95] Those who walk on the broad way are on the “World’s Boulevard.” It is the road taken by the majority, and those who travel upon it find the majority’s approval. It is humanity’s route, the road of brotherhood, inclusivity, and tolerance. It is an unending festival, where mutual flattery is demanded, truth is thrown out the window, and no one is allowed to point out that the emperor has no clothes or that the entire parade is moving toward destruction.

The Scriptures teach that the world loves its own [96] and listens to its own. [97] When the Son of God came to the world that He created and the people that He had chosen, they would not receive Him. [98] When the time came for an ultimate choice, the world chose one of its own. It asked for the pardon of a notorious thief and murderer and demanded the crucifixion of the Holy and Righteous One, the Prince of Life. [99] The world is a friend to all who would not be a friend of God. Its hostility is reserved only for those who would dare break truce with it and turn from its path in obedience to God. [100]

Furthermore, there is no opposition from the devil on the broad way. In fact, the road was his design and is directed by his will. According to the Apostle Paul, to walk in the broad way is to walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” [101] William Hendriksen writes, “The [broad] ‘way’ was built by the devil. His followers travel on it.” [102] The saint of God who walks the narrow path will constantly be tempted, tried, and even thwarted in his pilgrimage. The devil will oppose him at every turn and seek to undo his every attempt at progress in the faith. If it were not for the protection of Christ, the devil would sift him like wheat [103] and crush him until he cursed God. [104] But to those on the broad way, the devil is a friend, at least for a time. For from his lips drip honey, and smoother than oil is his speech; but in the end he is bitter as wormwood and sharp as a two-edged sword. [105] With his many persuasions he entices men; with his flattering lips he seduces them. [106] But his feet go down to death, and his steps take hold of Sheol. [107] Those who follow him on the broad way are as an ox that goes to the slaughter, as a fool who goes to his punishment in chains, or as a bird that hastens to the snare. They do not know that their choice will cost them their life. [108] For the devil’s house sinks down to death, and his tracks lead to the dead. None who go to him return again, nor do they reach the paths of life. [109]

Finally, the broad way is the way of increasing darkness. From the book of Proverbs, we learn that“the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” [110] In contrast, “the way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” [111] The Scriptures teach us that sin has a cauterizing affect upon the sinner’s conscience. [112] There comes a time when God may give a man over to the lusts of his heart, to impurity and degrading passions. [113] It is a terrible thing for a man to be given over to the futility of his unregenerate mind, darkened in his understanding and excluded from the life of God. [114] Nevertheless, this is a judgment that falls upon men and nations with greater frequency than we have courage to admit. Although we can never give up on God’s grace to save even the worst of sinners, we must warn every man on the broad way that each step brings him one step closer to reprobation, to being turned over and placed beyond all retrieval. It is not a place where he will want to be saved, but cannot; rather, it is a place where he will no longer care. At this point, his heart has turned into a dry husk, and his soul is so shallow that the diversions of the broad road are all he needs to fill it.

[1] John 14:6Acts 4:12I Timothy 2:5
[2] Ephesians 2:8-9
[3] William Hendriksen writes, “The order ‘gate’ followed by ‘way’ is therefore very natural and makes good sense, especially in view of what is probably the intened meaning: right initial choice (conversion) followed by sanctification; or else, wrong initial choice followed by gradual hardening.” (New Testament Commentary, Matthew, p.368-369)
[4] William Hendricksen writes, “It is clear from the description that these – gate and way – should be combined: narrow gate and constricted way, wide gate and broad or roomy way.” (New Testament Commentary, Matthew, p.367)
[5] Acts 9:219:92322:424:1422
[6] The noun thlípsis is translated as “tribulation” in the following texts: Romans 2:98:35.
[7] II Corinthians 5:17Ezekiel 36:26
[8] I John 5:3
[9] John 6:45Jeremiah 31:34
[10] Acts 1:8Ephesians 3:16Philippians 4:13
[11] Ezekiel 36:27Romans 8:14
[12] Hebrews 12:5-11
[13] Ephesians 2:10Philippians 1:6
[14] Genesis 18:19Judges 2:22
[15] Psalm 1:6Isaiah 26:7
[16]Psalm 23:3Proverbs 8:2012:2816:31
[17] Psalm 119:32
[18] Psalm 119:33
[19] Psalm 119:27
[20] Psalm 119:14
[21] Proverbs 4:18
[22] Romans 12:2
[23] Hebrews 5:13-14
[24] Psalm 23:3
[25] Jeremiah 33:8-9
[26]Jeremiah 14:20-21
[27] Propositional truth refers to truth that is revealed or communicated in statements or assertions.
[28] Matthew 4:198:229:910:3816:2419:21
[29] I Corinthians 11:1Ephesians 5:1I Thessalonians 1:6
[30] John 5:39-40
[31] The noun thlípsis is translated as “tribulation” in the following texts: Romans 2:98:35.
[32] Matthew 10:22John 15:18-20John 16:33
[33] Matthew 5:10-12
[34] Matthew 10:22-28Luke 21:12
[35] I Thessalonians 3:4
[36] II Timothy 3:12
[37] Acts 14:22
[38] Philippians 1:29
[39] I Peter 3:174:19
[40] I Peter 4:12
[41] I Peter 5:9
[42] Hebrews 5:8
[43] I Peter 1:6
[44] I Peter 1:7
[45] Romans 5:3-4
[46] James 1:2-4
[47] Romans 8:28
[48] I Peter 1:64:12-13Romans 5:3
[49] Romans 8:17-18
[50] I John 5:19
[51] Romans 7:18
[52] Romans 1:305:10Romans 8:7Colossians 1:21
[53] Romans 8:7-8
[54] Galatians 5;17
[55] Romans 7:24-25
[56] Malachi 3:1-3
[57] Malachi 3:2
[58] Hebrews 12:5-6
[59] Proverbs 13:24
[60] Proverbs 23:14
[61] Hebrews 12:11
[62] Humanity and God, p. 90
[63] Philippians 2:12-13
[64] I Timothy 4:7;
[65] II Corinthians 7:1
[66] Hebrews 12:14
[67] II Corinthians 7:1
[68] Philippians 3:13-14
[69] The Septuagint is the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament.
[70] Psalm 31:8 [Psalm 30:9 LXX]; Isaiah 30:23
[71] Psalm 58:3
[72] Isaiah 53:6
[73] Romans 5:12
[74] Psalm 2:1-3
[75] Judges 17:621:25
[76] Proverbs 29:18
[77] Proverbs 14:1216:25
[78] Jude 1:12
[79] Jude 1:13
[80] II Timothy 3:2
[81] II Timothy 3:2
[82] I John 2:15-17
[83] II Timothy 3:4
[84] I John 2:16
[85] Westminister Larger Catechism, Question 1
[86] Romans 1:21-23
[87] Philippians 3:19
[88] Isaiah 55:2
[89] Jude 1:4
[90] Malachi 2:6
[91] I John 2:17
[92] Psalm 51:5
[93] Psalm 58:3
[94] Romans 8:7-8
[95] New Testament Commentary, p.369
[96] John 15:19
[97] I John 4:5
[98] John 1:11
[99] Matthew 27:162126Mark 15:71115Luke 23:18John 18:40Acts 3:14-15
[100] John 15:19
[101] Ephesians 2:2
[102] New Testament Commentary, Matthew, p.369
[103] Luke 22:31
[104] Job 2:9-10
[105] Proverbs 5:3-4
[106] Proverbs 7:21
[107] Proverbs 5:5
[108] Proverbs 7:22-23
[109] Proverbs 2:18-19
[110] Proverbs 4:18
[111] Proverbs 4:19
[112] I Timothy 4:2

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