And great was the fall of it

By Robert C. Oliver - Contributing columnist

The seven words that make up our title are the last seven words of a parable used by Jesus. It is the account of the wise man who built his house upon the rock and the foolish man that built his house upon the sand found in Matthew 7: 24-27. Most who were brought up in any sort of Christian atmosphere and attended any form of Bible school, learned of this parable and learned a little song about the wise man who built his house upon a rock. Of course, though this is a great teaching tool for our children, the parable needs to be studied, learned and heeded by those who are adults too. Its not just a children’s Bible story.

One of the things about this parable that is true of most of Jesus’ parables but of utmost importance to us is that it has reference to the eternal salvation of the soul of man. It might be helpful to notice that this is really the third bit of instruction on the same subject found in this seventh chapter of Matthew. Jesus had stated, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). The topic of this passage is absolute obedience to what God has said, the strait and narrow way. The end result of the path taken is either eternal life or eternal destruction. Just a few verses later, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23). The subject references one’s obedience or disobedience to God’s word and after that the judgment. There can be nothing more important to us than instruction from God concerning how we can have eternal life rather than eternal damnation.

A second point we need to consider is just what the house is that is being built. In the first of the three mentioned passages, the path, gate or way one has determined to travel constitutes the structure of one’s position before God. This is also seen in the second noted passage when he speaks of the practices and beliefs which these supposedly believing people held to. In our third, it is referred to as a house. The gist of the parable is that the structure of one’s belief and practices cannot stand the test of the judgment unless they are in accordance with the criteria set by God.

This brings us to the criteria by which a determination will be made. In the first of our three text, it was determined by whether one walked the strait and narrow or the broad and easy way. Obviously, in the text, the strait and narrow was God’s way and the broad and easy was man’s way. In the second passage, it is simply stated as being the doing of the will of the Father in heave. And in this last passage, it is clearly the one who hears and obeys the gospel of Christ which is the word of God. Peter said, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet. 1:25). The apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, where it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). He told the Romans that, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16).

The end result in all of these passages comes down to the same thing. If one will be of the few who will receive eternal life, he must walk the strait and narrow. If he is to enter into the kingdom of heaven, he must do the will of the Father in heaven, and if one is to be able to stand in the judgment, he must hear and do the sayings of Jesus. Those who do not hear and obey the word of the Lord will be of the many who go to destruction, will be told to depart from the Lord and will fall when faced with the judgment. From the last of these passages we end with the last seven words used: “And great was the fall of it”. The text does not include exclamation points, but several would be needed if we were to try to express the importance of and the great calamity in what those words hold. In effect, what that great fall represents is the eternal damnation of one’s soul. The fall could not possibly be any greater. As Jesus once said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).

Now to the greatest lesson of all these passages. If it is true that one will be judged by his obedience or lack thereof, to the word of God, then no other criteria will suffice. We will not be judged by what we think, by what we have been told, by how we feel about something or by what we like or dislike. We will be judged by God’s word, whether we have obeyed it or not. (Send any questions or comments to:

By Robert C. Oliver

Contributing columnist

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.

Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.

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