Apr 2 2018

The Narrow Gate

“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.”  (Matthew 7:13-14)

This is a difficult statement that Jesus made during His ministry. Some have asked, “What is the gate?” And some have said, “Where is the gate?” Others have said that Jesus is so restrictive in His statement. Let us look at this more closely.

On another occasion, Jesus said that He is the gate. (Note: some translations use the word door instead of gate.) In John 10:7, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” Then in verse 9, he expands that statement. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” What Jesus is saying is that He is the entrance into the Kingdom of God.  He confirms this later in John 14:6 when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Here Jesus is saying that no one can go to the Father in Heaven, except through Jesus. This means that there has to be an established personal relationship with Jesus to enter Heaven.

There are several reasons why Jesus makes these restrictive statements. First of all, Jesus is the only one who was crucified and died to pay the price for our sins.  He confirmed this by rising from the dead. Jesus is the only religious leader to do so.

Second, since Jesus came from the Father in Heaven and did only what the Father said to do and say, He is the only one to fully and completely obey the Father in everything. (John 15:9) No one else can make that claim, because Romans says that all have sinned. (Romans 3:23)

Because Jesus claimed to be God, equal with the Father in Heaven, He has the right to lay out the only way to heaven with God. (John 10:30)

The fourth and last reason for this restrictive way to God is the love for us that Jesus has. He knows what happens to any man or woman who lives in sin. He also knows what happens when people try to get to God by another way. Both of these routes end up in total death for all eternity.  They also create unnecessary problems for folks while they are on the earth. (1 Peter 3:10-12, John 3:16-18)

I say all of this to say that the way the Jesus lays out for each one of us to follow Him is the way with the light burden and fewer problems that we create for ourselves. (Matthew 11:28-30)  While Jesus does promise persecution for those who follow Him, He also promises a peace that passes all understanding. (2 Timothy 3:12) In addition, He promises an eternity of happiness in Heaven with Him for all eternity in our resurrected bodies without blemish or imperfection. (John 14:1-3) And how do we know what is on the other side of that door for sure? We know it because of the Resurrection, for Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  (John 11:25-26)  We have the Word of God on this!

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References:

John 5:19: Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

John 10:30:  “I and the Father are one.”

1 Peter 3:10-12:  “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

2 Timothy 3:12: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

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