TWO

Choices. There are really, only two.

two roads sign

We have a choice, as country-folk say,

“Yer either fer Him or agin Him.”

Two brothers. Two responses. Two roads.

The idea begun in Genesis four between Cain and Abel runs through Revelation: choose God or gods, wickedness or righteousness, wisdom or foolishness, the narrow way or the wide way.

But everybody gets to choose.

two roads brothersThe story of Cain and Abel is about who offered what to God.

It is clear that Abel “offered the first fruit and fat portions,” (Gen 4.4) meaning the best, top o’ the line.

Cain offered “some of the fruit of the ground” (Gen 4.3, NIV).

We all know Cain’s response: he was angry with God and killed his brother (Gen 4.5-9).

Abel is called “righteous” (Matt 23.35, Luke 11.49-51) and “commended by God” (Heb 11.4).

Cain, on the other hand is call “evil” (1 John 3.12) and those like him “follow the way of Cain” (Jude 11).

two roads fruitThe “two-roads” metaphor appears in Jeremiah 24 in the form of two baskets of figs. As in Genesis 4, the choice is between rebellion and righteousness. God’s eyes will be on the good figs but “the bad figs are so bad they cannot be eaten” (24.8).

In the same way, Jesus references good and bad fruit in Matthew 7.15-20.

Joshua laid down the gauntlet: “Choose this day whom you will serve” (24.15)

Elijah declares “If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kgs 18.21).

Jeremiah is a book dedicated to the consequences of a wrong choice.

The Spirit expects Christians to learn from negative examples in Scripture (Rom 15:4; 1 Cor 10:1-11). Choices have not changed. Acts 14:4 is a “choice” passage, “But the people of the city were divided.” The word “divided” is the one from which we get our word “schism.”

two roads highwayThere are two choices, two roads.

One can choose the way of Cain or that of Abel, Pharaoh or Yahweh, Jesus or other gods.

There is no middle ground.

There is no fence to sit on.

There is no third choice.

Follow God. Don’t follow God.

It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult.

two roads cars“There is My way and then, all the others” Jesus assumes in John 14. We should not be surprised: people hated Jesus first (Matt 10:22; 24:9). Nothing has changed. The gospel divides (Matt 10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53) because there are only two roads.

There are always and only two groups of people in life.

And there is always and only one hope. Genesis 4 ends with Seth becoming Abel’s substitute—the literal meaning of his name (Gen 4.25-26). Jesus too is our substitute appearing once for all (Heb 9.26), to offer Himself once for all (Heb 9.28).

The story of Cain and Abel tells us the universal truth:

“Yer either fer Him or agin Him.”

Mark preached on the two roads metaphor at his local church Crossroads Community which can be heard here. With all the talk of choices, there are really only two.

Picture credits: http://www.public-domain-image.com/

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One comment

  1. “There are many paths.”

    Yes, on the first of the two roads. But the second road has only one path. The many paths of the first road all lead to destruction–many paths leading to a single destination, and it’s not God. The single path of the second road, however, leads to life and, more importantly, to God.

    I like Jesus’ parable of the wide and narrow gate (Matt. 7:13-14). The gate to life is narrow and few ever find it. And yet, we can think many things and still go through the gate. We can believe in evolution and still go through the gate. We can believe that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant, and still go through the gate. We can even believe in Calvinist doctrines and still go through the gate! 😉

    Too many limitations are put on the Gospel and God’s grace, unnecessary limitations. “You must be circumcised” the Judaizers said, for example. Or, “You must be immersed in water to be truly baptized”…

    “You must…”

    “You must…”

    Such things are secret little paths that actually lead us off the narrow road. They are dangerous, hindering us from obeying the truth (Gal. 5:7-12)!!!! These are the only things we must do:

    1. We must repent of our sin.
    2. We must put our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
    3. We must submit to God, fearing Him, loving Him, and serving Him.
    4. We must persevere.

    Yet Jesus, in His parable, describes the narrow way as “hard”. Why is it hard? It is hard because man does not wish to die to himself. He does not wish to submit to God. He does not wish to repent. He trusts in his own judgment. How hard it is for sinful man!!! Jesus even says His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). Light. Easy. And yet, so difficult.

    A wide gate with many paths leading to a single destination–destruction. And a narrow gate with but one path leading to a single destination–life. Choices. There are really, only two. Jesus would agree with you.

    Thanks for the post, Dr. Eckel!

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