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A Third Way
Before you begin to read the following article, there are a few matters I would like to clarify.
This article was written with heartfelt concern for the unconverted as they travel to a certain eternity, especially those who belong to the conservative Reformed community. I myself also belong to this community—a community very dear to my heart.
However, I am becoming aware of an ever increasing danger that threatens us. I am referring to the danger of our religion being reduced to outward traditions that lack genuine substance.
The words of the Lord Jesus Himself prove how perilous this is—words spoken to religious people who obeyed the commandments of God to the letter, and conformed themselves fully to tradition. You can read about this especially in Matthew 15:6, 8, 9.
It is because of this danger, and the fact that many no longer understand that there are only two types of people, that I have decided to write this pamphlet.
The line of thought you will encounter is derived from the many conversations I have had—primarily with young people, but also with many older people of our Reformed community.
The next thing I would like to say is this: I will readily admit that what I have written may appear to be one-sided. There is much that could be said about a religion which revolves around man and his emotions, whereas Biblical words such as sin, guilt, sacrifice, the Cross, self-denial, etc. are no longer mentioned. Furthermore, it may seem that what is written typifies the entire conservative Reformed community. Thankfully, I may know that this is also not true. Yet I believe that, upon an honest assessment, the reader will recognize certain matters.
It is my desire and my prayer that the reading of this pamphlet will cause eyes to be opened to the reality that as long as we are in the flesh, and yet without faith, it is impossible to please God. However, may there also be a taking refuge to the Saviour who invites: “Come unto Me, all who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28).
A THIRD WAY?!
(The Right Side of the Broad Way)
It happened that I dreamt about two roads. These roads were found on Earth. These roads united eternity past and eternity future.
The one road was broad and pleasant; the other, however, was narrow and difficult to walk on. Both roads were occupied with many people, very many people, although the Broad Way was much busier than the Narrow Way.
I saw that a variety of people were traveling on both roads: They were white and dark, young and old, gifted and less gifted, rich and poor. All these people together formed a mass that was innumerable, and all rushed onward on their way.
But where are they headed? I asked myself. What is their destination?
As I examined the two roads more carefully, I turned pale, because I suddenly saw the end of the Broad Way. Oh, what I saw there was a pool which was burning with fire and brimstone. I heard weeping and the gnashing of teeth. I also saw smoke arising from these anguished souls—smoke that will ascend to all eternity (Mat. 25:30,46; Rev. 20:15, 21:8).
I saw eternal perdition.
I once again looked at all those people who were traveling on that gruesome dead-end road. Couldn’t they see where they were headed?
I didn’t have to think about this very long, because it was plain to see from the expressions on their faces, that they had no idea where this road would end. Most of them were not at all concerned either. They were enjoying all the pleasures that tempted them along the way on both sides of the Road: wealth, fun, power, music, sex, alcohol, and all other sorts of entertainment. I noticed that by far the majority of these people had only one goal in mind: let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
In despair I asked myself, “Is there no one who cares about this multitude which will inevitably perish?”
Then, suddenly, I saw an object that stood between the Broad Way and the Narrow Way. It was a wooden cross.
On the cross hung a Man—a Man of Sorrows. His Hands were pierced; His blood flowed. His face was distorted by grievous suffering. And yet His face exuded so much compassion that it moved me deeply—very deeply.
His gaze swept across all the people rushing toward their eternal perdition. Then I heard the Man call to them with a loud, clear voice: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22).
Then I knew that there was One Who was filled with compassion for all those lost people. It was the Lamb of God Himself who takes away the sins of the world.
By virtue of the blood that flowed from the pierced hands of this Man, there was indeed a way of escape.
My gaze was drawn toward the other road, the Narrow Way. I asked myself, “Where are the people that are traveling on this Road heading? Their destination is not the same as the others, is it?”
But no, what I saw there, at the end of this Road, was so different—so indescribably different. I saw the Golden City.
Something in this City created Light, a Light so bright and wonderful. I also heard singing that sounded so joyous and holy, so contrary to the horrific screams ascending from that horrible Pit.
What I saw there was sacred worship, joy, and happiness. Neither tears, nor sorrow, nor grief, nor pain were to be seen at all (Rev. 21).
There I saw eternal bliss.
Hastily I turned myself once more to the multitude on the Broad Way. Most of the people did not see the Cross. They also did not hear the voice of the Man of Sorrows. They just kept on walking…
Shocked, but with a voice trembling for joy, I called out to them: “The Lamb of God has no desire in your death, which you justly deserve, but rather, that you should repent and live. O people, all who believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins, will not go lost, but live forever! Hasten on to the Cross. The Man of Sorrows has opened the Way of escape! Haste for your life’s sake” (Cf. Ezek. 18:21-23,32;33:11; John 3:15-18,36;5:24; 1 John 5:10-13).
But alas, also my voice was almost drowned out by the clamor and commotion of the multitude.
Certainly, there would be the occasional traveler who would glance briefly at the Cross, stand still for a moment, but who would just as quickly be drawn back into the stream of travelers. Some would pause a bit longer and move toward the Cross, but would be kept from it by all the temptations along the way (Mat. 13).
Thus the majority of people continued on, rushing headlong to their destruction, rushing to their eternal perdition.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Suddenly I noticed another marked path on the right side of the Broad Way.
People were walking also on this pathway. However, the behaviour of these people was so very different from that of the others on this road. Their faces were very serious, and they did not indulge in all the pleasures of their worldly counterparts.
It was obvious that these people knew where this road would end. They evidently also knew about the Cross and the Narrow Way of Escape, and many stood still to gaze at the Cross from a distance. While they stood there, they engaged in a lively conversation.
What are they talking about, I wondered, and why do so many stand at such a distance? Isn’t eternity steadily approaching for them as well?
I came nearer and began to listen to their conversation.
They were speaking about a way—a way to the Cross that stood before them. They explained to each other what needed to take place before they would be permitted to approach that Cross. They were also able to explain precisely what the course of this road was, and how difficult it was to traverse it.
They spoke with such conviction about this that it was almost as though they had already been there. However, I heard them admit honestly that this was not the case. They had only heard and read about it.
Their discussion continued about a variety of subjects such as the revealed and secret will of God, and the offer of grace.
Then I walked over to another group of people who were also standing in front of the Cross, and who were speaking about it. Apparently there were wise men among them. They had studied a variety of weighty books, and could quote extensively from them. As a result, they could explain exactly how the Lord works, and this enabled them to decide who was and who was not permitted to come to the Cross.
Those who wished to cast the burden of their sins at the foot of the cross were asked whether they truly felt this burden, and whether they were pressed down deeply enough by it. It was not that easy, they said.
And many who listened to them kept on walking, because it was true that they had not yet experienced any of this. This shocked me again, because I realized that these people valued the words of these men more than the Words spoken by the Man on the Cross.
Others were questioning to whom the Lamb of God on the Cross was speaking. “To all,” said some, “but His message is of no value to you if you have not received any self-knowledge.” Then they added most emphatically that this was God’s Work.
Then I saw that also many who had listened to this message continued dejectedly because God had not yet given them any self-knowledge. I heard some of them say that they really could not understand this, for they prayed at least three times a day for a new heart, but it had not yet been given to them.
So they walked onward, not paying any attention to the voice that called to them: “My son, give Me your heart” (Prov. 23:26a). After all, they could not do this of themselves
Still others said that the Message was but for a few who are on this road. I heard them say that this was obviously not for all. That notion is taught by those whose religion is but superficial, who allow themselves to be so readily deceived—and who will end up in hell, though they imagined they would have entered heaven.
“No,” they said, “Let us be safe and stay on this Road.” “We will not let ourselves be deceived with a presumptuous faith.” And so they also continued on their way… their way to perdition.
Furthermore, I noticed that all these serious people, though eternity came nearer with each step they took, were also preoccupied with other religious issues. They discussed the use of “Thee” and “Thou” in prayer, whether the Dutch Psalms should be sung with whole notes only, as well as many other details that pertained to external matters of worship and lifestyle.
They also denounced in the strongest possible terms an ungodly world and those people who only spent their time and energy in worldly pleasures, as well as so-called Christians who are always praising God, have accepted Christ, and are always assured of their salvation.
They themselves were quite different; at least they were honestly unconverted.
And so I saw, to my utter astonishment, that also many of these people were rushing onward on the Broad Way, albeit on the right side of it. Their pathway led to the same destination; they were on their way to a never-ending eternity.
Horrified I called out to them: Be ye reconciled to God! Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (2 Cor. 5:20; Heb. 4:7; 2:3).
Most of these people paid no attention to my plea. They knew these words so well, because they possessed the Word of God, and had read it many times.
A few of them came to me, however, and said: “Sir, that invitation is not for all of us. It is only for the Elect, and if we belong to the Elect, God will draw us to Himself. If not, then it really is pointless for us to turn to God ourselves.” And thus they continued on their way.
I had heard this argument before as I listened to their discussions. I just could not understand how they could arrive at such a conclusion in such a cold and business-like manner. Didn’t these people understand where this pathway would end? I cried out to them: “Dear people, the Bible warns us that God with flaming fire will take vengeance on them that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It also says that He will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh, because you have refused to turn to Him (2 Th. 1:8; Prov. 1:20-33). Won’t God also laugh and mock and execute His vengeance upon you because you have refused to respond to His invitation? Would God be unrighteous?
One person turned to me to say: “Don’t think that you know it all. It is our minister who says this, and I simply feel that it is the sound truth.” And he also walked on again, towards his perdition.
Others said: “What the Cross preaches to us is the outward calling. Only when Christ calls us inwardly, then we will be able to turn to Him. Don’t you know that we cannot convert ourselves, and that God must do that?” I answered: “Certainly, that is true, but God is willing (Cf. Isa. 55:8; Ezek. 18:21-23, 32; 33:11). Turn from yourselves and your miserable existence and trust wholly in Him; He will never put you to shame (Cf. Isa. 50:10; Psa. 2:12; 17:7; 18:31; 31:20, 25; 32:10; 33:18; 34:9, 23; 36:9, 23; 36:8; 37:5, 40; 40:5, etc.). Oh, turn unto Him, Who is willing to work in you what you cannot accomplish yourself!”
“Sir,” they said, “that is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit, and if that Spirit starts to work, the rest will all come about, because He works irresistibly!”
I answered: “I agree with you that it is the Holy Spirit who renews the heart, but that does not relieve you of the responsibility to surrender fully to the Lord Jesus Christ, does it?. Later you will not be able to blame God by claiming that you could not help it that you were not converted because the Holy Spirit was not willing to perform it in you. Besides, do you realize that you are capable of resisting the Holy Spirit..?!” (John 3:3-8; Acts 7:51).
Yet even these people turned around and continued on their way—a way that led to eternal perdition, justifying themselves with the thought that they cannot save themselves anyway.
Another individual protested: “It can’t be so easy. What am I to do at the Cross? I first must feel a sense of my sins and inability before I may come to the Lamb of God. Our minister always warns us for people who just simply go to the Lord Jesus. No, first misery and then deliverance!” And he too continued on.
I cried out after him: “But Sir, the Word of God tells you that you are a miserable sinner, whether you feel it or not (Rom. 3:9-19, 1 Cor. 16:22). You will never fully understand the extent of your unworthiness! Hurry to the Cross. There is the One who desirse to open your eyes for your misery, but who also desires to show you that He is willing to deliver you. Cast your eye upon the Redeemer … it is still the time of Grace for you!” Once more he turned around, saying: “You are shoving it down people’s throat… a Jesus of five letters,” upon which he again hurried onward on his way to Hell, bypassing both the Cross and the Saviour.
Time after time I exclaimed to these people that outside of Jesus Christ there is no life, but only eternal perdition, and that they were traveling on the road to eternal damnation. But the majority of them justified their continuation on the Broad Way. These arguments sounded so pious and orthodox. They truly believed in them.
And thus I noticed to my utter dismay that also the majority of these people continued to walk on the path to be found on the right side of the Broad Way, passing by the Cross and the Narrow Way, even though they were so close to it.
They did so together with all the others. Together they passed by the Cross; together they paid no attention to the Voice of the Saviour; together they were all heading toward perdition.
Toward the end I saw how the Broad Way and the narrow path on the right side thereof merged once more.
There I saw how all those people were united—serious people and ungodly people. They are all ungodly—united in the pool that burns with fire and brimstone.
It then became evident to me that in essence there was no difference between all those people. “Or was there…?” I asked myself.
Upon examining this pool a bit more closely, I observed that the suffering of the piously ungodly was more unbearable than that of the worldly ungodly, and I understood why
The piously ungodly knew there was a Narrow Way, but had not walked on it (Heb. 3:18-4:11).
However it may be, now it was too late for each and every one of them, forever too late… All those people would be in that gruesome place forever. Yes, it was the end of all those who would not that the Lamb of God should reign over them (Luke 19:27), but had rejected Him (Cf. Prov. 1:24-27, Luke 7:30, 10:16, 19:27; John 12:48; 2 Th. 1:8, 2:10-12, Heb. 10:29).
Certainly, some did this in a pious way, and others in an ungodly manner. And yet, both were unwilling to believe, and were rejected…
I also saw that from this place there was absolutely no way of escape. There was no Man there—no Man of Sorrows, who lovingly invited: “Turn unto Me and be ye saved.”
I only heard other voices, desperate voices: “If only… if only…”
But for them it was too late, forever too late.
The day of Grace was past.
Then I awoke.
Dear Reader, “If only…, if only…”; you fill in the blanks, and do it now before it will be too late for you too!
TODAY IF YE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS (Heb. 4:7).
“The translation of this article has been approved by the author and is being forwarded to you with his permission. It is his prayerful wish that it would be widely distributed and that the Lord will bless it to many. Making additional electronic and/or printed copies is permitted as long as the contents remain unaltered.”
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