It has been well said that there was no path in the garden of Eden. An innocent man in a garden of delights had only to remain where God had placed him. He needed no path to lead him out of such a scene. Then again there will be no path in heaven. A holy man in a perfect scene will have no desire to leave it. We shall need no path in glory.
In a ruined world there is, and of necessity must be, a path through it, and out of it, for in such a world none can stay. The guilty man cannot stay, the godly man would not if he could. From the gates of Eden man became a wanderer in a fallen world––a sinner who, from the moment he enters the world, treads a path that leads out of the world by death––the path of death.
For the believer, however, there is another path––“the path of life” (Ps. 16: 11). This is “a path no bird of prey knoweth, and the vulture’s eye hath not seen it; The proud beasts have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed over it” (Job 28: 7, 8). It lies further than the range of nature’s keenest vision and beyond nature’s greatest strength. The wisdom of man has never discovered it, and the might of man will never tread it. Like the path of death it passes through a world of sorrow, through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23: 4), but unlike the path of death it leads into the presence of the Lord where there is “fulness of joy” and “pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11).
This path, which could never be discovered by mere nature, has been disclosed by grace, and trodden in perfection by a perfect Man––the Man Christ Jesus. There has been One here to whom, by reason of His intrinsic perfection, the path of life could be disclosed. He becomes the perfect example for His people, and sets their feet in the path that He has trodden, for almost His last words before He left this scene were “Follow thou me” (John 21: 22). We may indeed tread this path with faltering steps and many a stumble, but as our pattern, and for our encouragement, Christ has gone before us in the path. Such a path and a life was unknown to an innocent man in Eden and impossible to a fallen man in the world. Only a holy man passing through this world could live a life marked by dependence upon the power of God, confidence in the love of God and subjection to the will of God; a life of lowliness that associated with the morally excellent of the earth, while maintaining separation from the evil of the world; a life of satisfaction with the inheritance to come, a life in which there is divine guidance and support, a life which death cannot touch nor the grave close, and that leads to the presence of God where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. A life counselled for us by the Father’s heart, in which we have the support of the Father’s hand, until at last we enter upon its fulness in the Father’s home. Only in Christ do we see the life lived in its absolute perfection––but the life lived in perfection by Christ is possible for you and me in the power of the Holy Spirit.