Jesus warns us in the Gospels about the narrow and wide gates. He is speaking about heaven and hell, and makes it quite clear to everyone listening that salvation is a special gift. For those who listen to his teachings and accept God’s grace, eternal rest is promised.
Matthew 7:13-14 says, “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.”
We understand that this truth is still at play today, two-thousand years after Jesus first said it. This Scripture deals with the idea that those who wish to live a Godly life must pass through the narrow gate. In other words, heaven isn’t the default setting for everyone. It takes an action on our part — namely, accepting Christ and becoming baptized in order to be saved.
Conversely, it also says that a good many people in this world will not do what it takes to seek after the Lord and be reconciled to God. Instead, they will listen to what the secular world tells them: be selfish, acquire wealth and money, and run after whatever makes you feel good. This is the wide gate, and many pass through it on a daily basis.
We have all heard the expression “a road less traveled.” It is often used in conjunction with the idea that the most popular destination is sometimes found in remote places. While it may be much easier to traverse distance on a nice, paved four lane interstate, the fact remains that this route may never move us past tourist traps and traffic jams. If we really want to see nature, we must take the old, gravel road.
Rest assured, once we get out of the car and locate that special spot, the trip is well worth it. But resisting the urge to join the rest of the pack and shop at the seductive tourist areas is difficult. In a spiritual sense, the outside world is constantly calling to us. It tells us to follow our own heart, compromise our beliefs for the sake of political correctness, and engage as a follower instead of a leader.
Let’s face it, as time goes on, it will become more and more difficult to stick to Biblical theology and pass through the narrow gate. It will be tempting to veer to the left or the right, and compromise the teaching that Jesus and the apostles left us. The red letters in the Bible are sometimes difficult, but also well worth the effort. We need not compromise our faith walk.
We live in an era of hypersexuality, affirmation and celebration of sin, and lukewarm theology. But this leads to the wide gate — many will pass through it. They will mistake a spiritual feeling for true salvation. Only Jesus saves, and this occurs through acceptance of his resurrection and grace. It is a simple truth often left out of modern worship services today. Grace through faith, and repentance from sin (or at least the attempt at fighting our sin).
My prayer for all of you is that you continue to weigh what you hear today on YouTube and television against what the Bible actually says. It will be difficult in the short run, but you will find new life through Christ in the long run. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and we must ensure that our tennis shoes fit well during the race. No off-brand sneakers will do ... only the real thing will hold up over time.
The Biblical Jesus is the real thing, and he always has been.