7 Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. Amos 7:7 (NASB)
In John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, the characters’ names usually define their character. For instance there is Ignorance. He refuses to believe Christian and Hopeful when they tell him that unless he goes through the narrow gate to begin his pilgrimage, he will not be allowed into the gate of the Celestial City….
Then there is Talkative who equates making a fuss about one’s sin with actual repentance. Early in Christian’s pilgrimage, he comes across two other pilgrims named Formalist and Hypocrisy who come from a country called Vain-Glory. They tell Christian that the shortcut that they took to the path, bypassing the narrow gate, was necessary because it was too far to travel from Vain-Glory to it. All were revealed to be counterfeit Pilgrims and none of them made it into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ save Christian, Hopeful and Faithful.
These false pilgrims had one thing in common. They were all pilgrims on the path to the Celestial City, but they entered it on their own terms. They walked according to their own rules. Man is fallen. He is incapable of knowing God or His ways without the grace of God regenerating the heart. However, even though the gate to salvation is narrow and hard to find, His standards are still higher than any Man can attain outside of His grace. He does not lower His standards nor put away His plumbline.