It’s a question one can easily be caught on. If God loves us all, why make the path to Heaven so narrow?
When making the case for God’s love to an unbelieving world, many questions come to mind, some more troubling than others. One such question is the road to Heaven. Why is it so narrow? If God loved everyone, why would He not accept everyone in? Or, as one atheist put it, “Why should unconditional love come with a list of conditions?” This is a troubling question, and one worthy of an answer.
To answer this, we must look at the question itself. When the atheist states that unconditional love shouldn’t come with conditions, the Ten Commandments are first to come to mind. These ten “conditions” are what makes the path so narrow, at least, that’s what is thought. The concept of love this question raises is one that accepts anyone and everyone, no matter what they have done. However, doesn’t this already describe the love of God? In John 6:37, Jesus says “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” So is this a blatant contradiction of the character of God, or just a simple misunderstanding?
If what Jesus says is true, then the road to Heaven isn’t narrow, but incredibly merciful. If what Jesus says is true, then the love of God isn’t conditional, but infinite. No one deserves the gift of eternal life in joy and holiness, yet Jesus says come to me and I will give you rest.
But it must be asked, if the road to Heaven is narrow, how can we rest?
The truth is that Jesus, the way the truth and the life, is the only way. One can’t know the truth, yet take an alternative. The same way the law of gravity is one law. One can’t create their own law of gravity, only what is already set in place.
The Ten Commandments were never meant to be a way to Heaven. They were meant to keep a culture in check and to stop lives being hurt or damaged. They were never a way to salvation. Following them would never grant us God’s love as His love isn’t bound by our performance, but by His. Ephesians 2:8 says this, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” The gift of salvation is the only way to salvation. But if one were required to follow a set of laws, or obey each commandment, or give a sufficient offering in order to enter Heaven, then the road to Heaven becomes extremely narrow. Amazingly, through Jesus’ open gift, this is not the case. Through Jesus, the road to Heaven isn’t narrow in the sense that it requires an effort to be pure, it is described as narrow because we cannot create our own road to Heaven. If we reject Christ’s invitation, His generosity and forgiveness, and choose to find our own road, we are then choosing to become narrow in our own choices. We are choosing the difficult road. Pure righteousness becomes the only way to enter Heaven, but we’ve all fallen disastrously short of that standard.
I want to encourage anyone reading. The overwhelming good news is that the gift of salvation through Christ is given freely to all who will believe. You are loved beyond measure, you just have to turn your face.