“Broad is the road that leads to destruction and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
Modern Christianity says that isn”t true, but there are many roads to salvation, with 2.1 billion people from the Catholic religion to its daughters, all of them have different ways of practicing Christianity. Probably most of them claim to obtain their authority from the Bible, but they are diverse in their practices.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44) – so says the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ. This verse tells us, that coming to God is a process that He (God) starts, and we must choose to accept or reject His way when that way is offered.
If we accept God”s way, then He puts us on that narrow road that leads to eternal life, and the Day of Pentecost made it all possible.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and said: “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Repentance means to change our direction, to get off that broad way that leads to death and get on this narrow path that leads to eternal life. Not only does repentance mean a change of direction, it also means a change of mind, a mind that must now start to think like God thinks. A change in our thoughts, change of attitude, and God reveals His thoughts and his mind through His Word – the Bible. The Bible contains God”s values, His standards and principles.
“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you so that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding: yes if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5).
Once we enter the narrow gate, it will be now how we use the knowledge that God has given us that will determine if we will be given eternal life or not. Remember that Jesus said “many are called but only a few are chosen,” and He also said only a few find this narrow gate.
Why is it that only a few are chosen and only a few find this narrow gate? Very simply, the mind hasn”t changed; it is still carnal and not spiritual. The mind must be converted.
The miracle of Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit) makes it possible for our minds to be converted, but why did God want to convert us in the first place?
We now live in the age of the Church; God is not working through isolated prophets, nor through independent Christians. God is working through a small group of Spirit-begotten human beings, organized and unified by His laws, His government and His truth. It is this Church that God started on the Day of Pentecost to prepare this world for Christ”s second coming.
These firstfruits of God are also preparing to become future rulers and teachers in the Kingdom of God to help build a New World that is to come to this earth. The fruitfruits of salvation are pictured by God”s third annual holy day; Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits.
But why does God call anyone to salvation in the first place and why only a few at this time? Somewhere before time, God and the Word must have thought, there is just not enough of us. So God came up with a plan to reproduce Himself through living creatures called human beings.
But the natural mind is disobedient to God”s way of thinking and living, Paul tells us “the sinful mind is hostile to God, it doesn”t submit to God”s way nor can it do so” (Rom. 8:7-8). Those who are controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. So man came up with alternatives to the true message of Jesus Christ, these alternatives have been devised to accommodate the natural human minds unwillingness to live by God”s commandments.
Under the influence of Satan – “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4) mankind has been thoroughly blinded; the devil”s unseen power so dominates humanity that the “whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”
What sets Christ”s disciples apart from those who think they are His true followers, but in reality, have fallen victim to Satan”s deceptions? In Matthew 22:14 Jesus tells us “that many are called, but few are chosen” so the words called and chosen are the words of Jesus Christ, but what do they mean?
It is God”s desire to give salvation to all mankind (John 3:17). The key, however, is that not all are being saved at this time, in this age - Rom. 11:7-8, 25-26; Eph. 1:7-10. God calls a person to receive eternal life only when he or she learns and accepts the truth, repents and is baptized.
Now to be chosen by God, that person”s mind must be transformed, but why? Notice Mark 7:20-21: “What comes out of a man that defiles a man, for from within, out of the heart of men, proceeds evil thoughts? Jesus then gives us examples of the most basic evil attitudes and passions that dominate our thinking and behavior – adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness.
A change in the way we think is the most important aspect of real repentance. After we receive the Holy Spirit, we are better able to sustain right behavior as the fruit of our new way of thinking. This is why Pentecost is so important to members of God”s Church; the giving of the Holy Spirit is the power that transforms our minds. None of us can overcome our sins and shortcoming without God”s help, only God can change our hearts.
This is why Paul appealed to members of the Church at Rome: “Not to be conformed (to fashion alike) to this world, but to be transformed (change our way of thinking) by the renewing (renovation) of your mind” (Rom. 12:1).
Now notice how Paul”s life was changed after he received the Holy Spirit: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh live I by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
Baptism means to be buried in a watery grave, and when we come up out of that watery grave, the life we now live is no longer our own life. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, we are allowing Christ to live again within us. And we don”t succeed at living a converted life through own efforts, it is God”s power and help that enables us to overcome.
For a person to imitate Christ, to follow in His example, we must have God”s help through His Spirit so that we can bring our thoughts, attitudes and actions in line with His will. We must allow His Spirit to become the guiding force in our lives to produce the qualities of true Christianity.
So the big question that we must ask ourselves is, are we truly being led by God”s Spirit or resisting it?
Just what does the Holy Spirit do for us as Christians? The question affects the core of our religious beliefs, because without the power of God”s Spirit we can have no deep, close personal relationship with the Father, nor can we become His children.
So, what does it mean to “be led by the Spirit?” God”s Spirit doesn”t drive, drag or push us around; it leads us. It will not prevent us from sinning, nor will it force us to do what is right. It leads us, but we must be willing to follow. The Holy Spirit keeps us in contact with God”s mind. God”s Spirit works with our mind.
“Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit He has given us” (I John 3:24).
God”s Spirit also helps us come to a deeper understanding of His truth; you can read about that in John 16:13. God”s Spirit inspires a deeper understanding of His Word, purpose and will.
“But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:9-11).
Without God”s Spirit a person cannot understand God”s divinely expressed Word and will. But why is this: “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (v. 14).
The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible; nothing is too difficult for us with the power of God working in our lives. Correctly understanding the truth that the Holy Spirit is God”s power that can transform our mind and helps us better understand His purpose and will for us.
Now notice Eph. 4:15, “and speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.” This growth process involves overpowering the pulls of the flesh replacing them with the character of Jesus Christ.
A spiritual led-mind would be one that is submissive and obedient to the laws and ways of God, these people are being led by the Holy Spirit, the power of God Almighty.
By receiving God”s Holy Spirit, God wants us to come to know Him as the Supreme Spirit who sits at the controls of this universe. That His way is right and good, and begin to obey Him, that is why He gives us His Spirit, we can”t obey otherwise.
Now notice the direct blessings, guidance and strength that we can receive through the Holy Spirit of God: “If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you and I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always (Christ is speaking of the Holy Spirit).
“I mean the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognize that Spirit. But you recognize him, for he is with you now and is in your hearts. I am not going to leave you alone in the world, I am coming to you in a very little while, the world will see me no more but you will see me, because I am really alive and you will be alive too, when that day comes, you will realize that I am in my Father, that you are in me and I am in you
“Every man who knows my commandments and obeys them is the man who really loves me and every man who really loves me will himself be loved by the Father, and I too will love him and make myself known to him” (John 14:15-20).
It is the spirit of truth that we receive from God, it guides us to see and understand truth. In this loveless world, the comfort and peace that is given through the real knowledge of God and His Spirit is a great wonderful thing.
Notice what else happens to a spirit-led mind: “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we shall come to him and make our home with him” (v. 23). “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (v. 26).
The Holy Spirit is to teach us God”s truth and help us understand the purpose of our lives and of human existence.
“I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes. The Spirit of Truth he will guide you into everything that is true. For he will not be speaking of his own accord but exactly as he hears. And he will inform you about what is to come” (John 16:12-13).
This is why professing Christians are not able to grow in grace and knowledge and understanding of prophecy. They have not been empowered by God”s Spirit, to grasp and understand the Bible and to overcome themselves in living it. We must surrender to our Creator and through receiving His Spirit can we really have that inner happiness and peace of mind and joy in this life.
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God; this gift is the very nature of God and life of God. No one has the right to call God the Father without God putting His Spirit within us. Once we receive this gift, we must grow and develop the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance or self-control.”
The most important result of God”s Spirit in our life as human beings is love. This world is based on competition, selfishness, greed and hate. We live in a world where hate is going to explode and this next world war will just about annihilate all life on this planet; Just the opposite of God”s Spirit of love.
God”s love is not just another form of human love; God”s love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, so that we can keep God”s commands. The love of a true Christian is expressed in obeying the commandment of God.
Christ said “we are to love God with all our being (Matt. 22:37).When you and I love God this much, then that same divine love is expressed toward our fellow human beings, don”t kill, lie and covet. The Holy Spirit is that of a sound mind, a mind that grasps the real purpose of human existence. If we truly yield ourselves to God and His will we will receive His Spirit and His power is unlimited.