Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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The broad way… to life

Jesus warned that the path to destruction was broad and easy.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matt. 7:13,14).

Absolutely true. So why the title? I have been drawn back again and again to the creation narratives. Tempting people to become like God when they were created in the image of God is as crazy as suggesting to someone who is sitting at the wheel of their car, pulled up at the traffic lights, that if they ate a specific fruit they could drive on once the lights changed. A simple reply with ‘You had better come up with something else, for that one will definitely not stick!’ Though stick it did.

The part that has stood out to me about the garden has been the generosity of God. Eat whatever you want. It’s easy, the path is broad. All the fruit is for you. Enjoy. Ah… don’t eat of that tree over there. What just avoid one tree and its fruit? Yes the path to death / destruction is narrow, narrowed down to one tree in the whole garden, or to misquote the words of Jesus (or really simply quote Jesus but in a different context) ‘for the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to death’.

What a change eating from that one tree made. Overnight the motorways / freeways became dust tracks, and the dust tracks became highways. Not only that but where those original routes led to was changed.

Let’s jump forward though. Redemption changes everything. Conversion is no small thing. Paul moved from being ‘righteous’ pre-conversion, and not righteous through some kind of good works, but through allegiance to Scripture, to (a post-conversion) understanding that all that time he had been a blasphemer, someone who misrepresented God, acting on God’s behalf, in line with his Scriptures and in doing so taking God’s name in vain. Little wonder he had a few years in the desert working through the implications of his conversion. Peter moved from having clarity on what was clean and unclean to a few days journey trying to reconcile how he had made the mistake of thinking he had just passed the test that he had revised for all his life to realising he had turned up in the wrong exam room, and that the old exam was redundant. Redemption transforms!

I am convinced that when our ancestors left the garden, trudging eastward that Someone went with them. Many times unseen, for if one loses sight that they are in the image of God it is then very difficult to see the Invisible. [Ezekiel saw this, with his vision of the water flowing eastward from the Temple (the Garden of Eden was a Temple) and wherever that water went it brought life.] Cleopas and Mary on the road to Emmaus eventually saw that he was with them, once they ate (of the tree of life, for Jesus is the bread of life). They were a visible ‘incarnation’ (not literally) of those first couple. En route the God who trudged with them from the Garden, carried the death sentence, from there to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to the cross. They knew what they were doing, or so they thought. They released Cain (Barabbas: ‘son of the father’) and sentenced Abel (Jesus) to death. The leaders, the crowd, the Romans, the ‘you’ and the ‘me’ we knew what had to be done, for we also had eaten along with all those before us of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In so doing we killed the ‘author of life’. But God raised him up… raised him up for all of us, who truly did not have a clue, for ‘we did not know what we were doing’.

What were we doing? We thought we could be like God because, first we would decide what God was like… A distorted view. A God who is above life, above struggle, above… A God untouched, unmoved. A God who rules all and every situation with power, a click of the fingers and it is all done. Now the temptation has some traction, for we want to be like that god. You will be like ‘the god of your imagination’ once you eat of this tree. The tree of… but they don’t have a clue what they are doing. It’s not really about the fruit, it’s about pausing when coming close to that tree, and then saying ‘no need for that fruit’. No need to settle on one fruit, all, ALL the others are there for us.

Conversion does not seem to be a one off experience, in the sense of turning and being changed. Every time we approach or are tempted to pull from that tree we can pause and find a conversion moment.

So back to my title. I need to make sure I am on that broad road, the one that leads to life. If I am going to stay on it it probably means I need to check I have the right view of myself.

4 thoughts on “The broad way… to life

  1. Love this, Bradford where I live means Broad Ford. Bradford is a broad passing place for the Nations, life, colour and variety

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