“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Matthew 7:13
What comes to mind when you hear “Nearer My God to Thee”? You probably think of the sinking of the Titanic. Many eyewitnesses who survived the sinking of the Titanic reported that “Nearer My God to Thee” was the last song that the band played as the Titanic sank. Although 705 passengers and crew members survived, on that fateful night over 1,500 men, women and children drowned or died of hypothermia. And as each of them drew their final breath, their final destinations were sealed.
The Bible teaches us that every person who has ever lived will spend eternity in one of two places: with God in heaven, or with the devil and his demons in hell. So, as the Titanic disappeared beneath the surface just over 108 years ago, each person who died either entered God’s presence in heaven or was cast aside to spend eternity in hell. We don’t know how many of them entered either place—but tragically, “Nearer My God” was not the final destination of every person who perished that night.
It’s a sobering thought. And it’s a question that plagues many people, Christians and nonChristians alike: What are heaven and hell really like?
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Although we don’t find the words “heaven” or “hell” in these verses, Jesus uses two common synonyms for them: “life” and “destruction.” And in these verses, Jesus points out two truths about heaven and two truths about hell. Let’s start with heaven.
Heaven Truth #1: Heaven is the eternal place of life. It’s a place where death and decay do not exist. Try to wrap your mind around that concept: In heaven our bodies never grow old or wear out. Imagine: 20/20 vision—forever. Perfect hearing—without the Miracle Ear. No lower back pain. No diabetes. No false teeth. No prescription meds. And that’s not even the best part. Since Heaven is the eternal place of life, in heaven there is no war, no depression or hopelessness, no grief or heartache or sadness. So, in heaven we will finally experience perfect peace … perfect hope ... and perfect joy.
Heaven Truth #2: The way into heaven is very narrow, and only a few find it. What does that mean? Sadly, it means that most people won’t make it to heaven. So, what is the narrow road that leads to heaven? What is the small gate that leads to eternal life? God tells us in the Bible that the narrow road, and the small gate, leading to heaven are both Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us plainly: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Many people these days believe that all roads lead to heaven. But that’s not true. The truth is, all roads lead to hell … except for one. And that one road is Jesus himself.
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus also tells us two things about Hell:
Hell Truth #1: Hell is the eternal place of destruction. Both heaven and hell are eternal—they last forever. Try to wrap your mind around this truth: Hell is continuous, never-ending destruction. That means in hell our bodies burn, but never burn up. Our bodies feel searing pain, but there’s never the relief of death. The physical pain of hell will be horrendous. But it won’t compare to the emotional and spiritual pain. Since Hell is the eternal place of destruction, there is no peace. There is no hope. There is no joy. There is no reprieve, no time out, no light at the end of the tunnel. And one of the most heart-breaking descriptions of hell is given in 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Hell is the place where sinners will be “shut out from the presence of the Lord.”
Hell Truth #2: The way into hell is very wide, and most people take it. What a tragedy that most people alive today are on a path to hell. That’s not a very popular statement, but it’s true. Most people in our world today are cruising down the wide road to destruction. But I hope and pray that you’re not one of them.
According to Matthew 25:41, the eternal fire of hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” So think about it: Hell was not made for you. It was custom-made for the devil and his demons. You don’t belong there! You belong in heaven. So, please choose eternal life in heaven over eternal punishment in hell. And once again, the only way to choose heaven is to choose Jesus Christ. You have to choose to trust and serve Jesus Christ during this life.
One final thought: After you die you will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Regardless of whether you traveled the wide road to destruction or the narrow road to life, you WILL be judged for what you said and did during your lifetime. But here’s the thing: Non-believers will be judged by their EVIL words and deeds and be justly punished in eternity. But because believers’ sin has been covered by the grace of Christ, they’ll be judged by their GOOD words and actions. So, which would you prefer—to be judged according to your moral failures or to be judged according to your moral victories? Pretty easy decision, isn’t it? So, choose grace. Choose Christ.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at
10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.