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STUDY 11: THE THREE WAYS

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

“WIDE is the gate of destruction, and broad that way leading thither; and many are they who

enter through it. How narrow is the gate of life! how difficult that way leading thither! and how

few are they who find it.” (Matthew 7: 13, 14, Diaglott translation)

 

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the

unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the warfaring men, though fools, shall not

err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be

found there; but the redeemed shall walk there” (Isaiah 35: 8, 9).

 

The above Scriptures show three ways: the “broad way,” the “narrow way” and the “highway.”

 

The Broad Road to Destruction

 

This road is named broad because it is the easiest for the fallen race to travel on. Adam started on

this road over six thousand years ago when he sinned and after nine hundred and thirty years he

reached its end – destruction. After centuries, this downward path has become easier, and

mankind has continued to lose his power of resistance, with an average life currently less than

eighty years.

 

Few have attempted to retrace their steps, and though making some progress, none have been

able to attain the original perfection. In previous ages, dim rays of hope were seen in types and

shadows, yet not until the Gospel Age was a way of escape brought to light – life and

immortality through our Lord Jesus Christ – life, a restitution to life for all mankind; and

immortality, the prize of the high calling for the Gospel church.

Presently, the great majority do not heed the good tidings, being depraved by sin and blinded by

the Adversary. But during the Gospel Age, the responsive have been offered a new way by which

consecrated believers could attain the spiritual nature, which our Lord called

 

“The Narrow Way to Life.”

 

Matthew 7: 14: “Strait [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and

few there be that find it.”

 

Life is an energizing principle operating in ourselves, in lower animals, and even in vegetation.

It also exists in higher forms, angelic and divine. God is the fountain of all life, for all living

things come from Him.

 

The divine nature is immortal, deathproof, and therefore disease and pain-proof. It is

independent, unlimited, exhaustless, and continuous. From it all life and blessing proceeds, just

as the sun provides the earth with light and energy.

 

As sunlight shines upon different objects – diamonds, bricks and various kinds of glass, it

produces different effects. So with life: the oyster has life, but its organism cannot make use of

much life, just as the brick cannot reflect much of the light of the sun. The same applies to

beasts, fish and birds, which are like various kinds of glass under sunlight, showing differently

the various organic powers they possess.

 

A polished diamond is so adapted to the light that it appears as if it were a miniature sun. The

perfect man Adam before his fall could be likened to a diamond. He was grander than any other

earthly creature, not due to a difference in life principle, but because he possessed a grander

organism. Yet, the perfect man is not a fountain of life, just as the diamond cannot reflect light

except when shone upon by the sun.

 

God arranged that man in Eden would be provided with life-sustaining trees, but he was

forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge. After his transgression, man was separated from the

trees, and the death penalty went into effect. As the diamond loses its beauty and brilliancy when

the light is withdrawn, so man loses life when God withholds the supplies from him (Job 14: 10).

 

But God has provided a Redeemer who laid down His life as the ransom for man – the jewel is

to have its beauty restored – mankind will be offered an opportunity of restitution, and the

obedient will attain human perfection.

 

The Divine Nature the Church’s Reward

 

The reward for those who walked the narrow way, however, was the divine nature. God alone

possessed immortality originally, but has highly exalted His Son, our Lord Jesus, to the same

divine nature. “As the Father hath LIFE IN HIMSELF [God’s definition of immortality]; so hath

he given to the Son to have LIFE IN HIMSELF” (John 5: 26). Yet amazingly, the same offer has

been made to the Bride of the Lamb, selected during the Gospel Age, who will not be raised

from the tomb human beings, but divine beings. These are referred to as a “little flock,” a small

class compared to the large number who call themselves Christians.

 

The narrow way can properly be called a way of death, since its prize is only gained through the

sacrifice of the human nature, even unto death. They sacrifice and die with Christ as human

beings in order to become partakers of the divine nature with Him (Romans 8: 17)

(2 Timothy 2: 11, 12). During the Millennial Age, these will restore and bless the world.

 

Many consecrated ones, begotten of the spirit, have desired the prize, but have been partially

overcome by the allurements of the world, the desires of the flesh, or the arts of the devil.

 

Seeking to keep the favor of God and that of the world, they forgot that “the friendship of the

world is enmity with God” (James 4: 4).

 

Those who loved the present world but did not completely forsake the Lord, received a

scourging and purifying by the fire of affliction. If rightly exercised by the discipline, they are

granted everlasting, spirit life like the angels, but lose the prize of immortality. They will serve

God in His temple, and stand before the throne, having palms in their hands

(Revelation 7: 9-17), in contrast to the “little flock,” who will be kings and priests unto God, and

be seated with Jesus in the throne as His bride and joint-heir.

 

The Highway of Holiness

 

The new order of things in the coming age will hold out a different hope – human perfection to

the image of God as enjoyed by Adam before his disobedience; and a different way leading to it

– the putting away of sin, but not the sacrifice of human rights and privileges.

 

The way back to human perfection will be made very plain and easy, so that none may mistake

the way (Isaiah 35: 8) (Jeremiah 31: 34). It is termed a “highway,” specially arranged for the

convenience and comfort of its travelers who may attain actual perfection as a result of

obedience. Each individual will be aided by the wise and perfect administration of the new

kingdom.

 

Of that highway, Isaiah 35: 9 symbolically states, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast

shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there.” Many would now gladly forsake their sinful

ways, and pursue righteousness were it not for many frightful lions, such as the lion of a

degenerate public sentiment, and the lion of temptations to alcohol, drugs, gambling, immorality,

etc. No ravenous beast, that is, giant corporations, organized to advance selfish, individual

interests at the expense of the general good, will be tolerated. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in

all my holy mountain (kingdom)” (Isaiah 11: 9). All the stumbling-stones shall be gathered out,

and the standard of truth shall be lifted up for the people (Isaiah 62: 10). Ignorance and

superstition will be no more, righteousness will be rewarded and evil will be justly punished

(Malachi 3: 15, 18). “The ransomed of the LORD shall return [from destruction] . . . with songs

and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing

shall flee away” (Isaiah 35: 10).

 

We have discussed a “Broad Road” to destruction which mankind is presently travelling on; the

“Narrow Way,” made specially difficult as a test and discipline for those made partakers of the

divine nature and joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus in the Kingdom; and the “Highway of

Holiness,” which will be accessible and easy for all the redeemed ones, in order to attain human

perfection.

 

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