The Narrow Gate – the Way to Salvation
“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)
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most powerful sermons Jesus gave, and it is quite shocking what he actually says in these verses. It is shocking because he was preaching about the religious people, the Church.
Jesus said in verse 15, ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.’ Here, he is referring to church leaders (false prophets) and others in the church (false disciples), who call themselves believers but are deceived.
They are puffed up and full of pride, and leading the people astray; guiding them down a dark path (like an Ox to the slaughter). Naturally, Jesus has no time for them!
What is the Narrow Gate?
The narrow gate is Jesus. You have to enter through Jesus to get to The Father. This is why He says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.“
In John 10:9, Jesus clearly said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Two Gates / Two Ways:
The narrow way is not necessarily seen in the professing Christian who attends church every Sunday. Attending church and being a good person will not get you into Heaven. In fact, you could be on the Highway to Hell, according to the Scriptures.
The truth is always hard to hear, but nevertheless it’s good to hear it. So, what Jesus wants believers to know is that there are false teachers and people within the church, who are masquerading as believers. They are merely pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ.
Do you want to spend years following something that appears to be the Truth, only to discover at the end of your life that you’ve been on the wrong path? Well, I don’t!
I know what I want to hear and I certainly do not want the door to Heaven shut in my face. There is a way we can go that leads to life and there is a way that leads to death. Which way do you want to go?
“There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
So, why are there two gates? Why not, just one? Well, the sad reality is that no matter how much you want to believe that all people are good and that all babies are so cute and couldn’t possibly have sin in them, it is in fact, untrue, according to the Bible. We are all born sinners because of The Fall of Man, and all need to be born again to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
In Matthew 7:13, it clearly states that there are 2 roads a Christian can take in life and one leads to life (Heaven), and the other leads to death (Hell).
- The narrow gate that leads to life
- The broad gate that leads to destruction
These were the closing words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount and it was a direct command to take the narrow path to life – the way of Truth.
True and False Prophets & Disciples
These verses in The Gospel of Matthew are a warning against false religion – in other words, playing church. It’s an evil, rotten religion, a counterfeit religion, and Jesus is warning people to watch out for these evildoers who come in sheep’s clothing and speak eloquent words from the Bible, when beneath the facade, they are really ferocious wolves, who seek to kill and destroy.
In 1 Peter, we are warned to be vigilant, we must learn how to discern the good from the bad because these people hang around churches and walk alongside the true believers, but they have nothing but hatred in their hearts.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
How Will You Know The False Prophets?
Jesus said you will know them by their fruits….’By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.’ (Matthew 7:16-20)
A tree is known by its fruit, for example, a person is known by how they live their life. The words they speak and the things they do. We need to examine both, as false prophets are masters of deception, so if you are suspicious, watch their life.
Good works are the best evidence of a regenerated soul, but according to the book of James, it’s not enough as he says, faith must be mixed with good deeds, for anyone can say they believe in God as even Satan believes in Jesus!
Jesus is the Narrow Gate that Leads to Life
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
What does this life in Jesus look like? The narrow gate leads to peace, truth, eternal life, and abundant life here on earth, joy, righteousness, holiness, purpose, freedom, wisdom, goodness, light, love, and hope.
However, it’s a difficult road, it’s small and narrow and very few people walk on it. The gate is narrow, meaning we must go through it one by one, for salvation is individual, we come to Christ alone.
It may mean breaking away from everyone and everything in your life. If you choose the narrow way, you will be tested. How committed are you? This is why Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 14 that they must count the cost, before following Him.
There is a price to pay for following Jesus. Many may want to enter through the narrow gate, but Jesus said they will not be able to.
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:24)
They are not able to enter because they don’t want to give up the self-life. Many people are too attached to their possessions and enjoy their sin too much. The broad road is cozy, it’s an easy way. It involves no sacrifice.
This road is enjoyable, there’s no real struggle, and it appears to be the way to heaven, but watch out, for you will be at risk of slipping into destruction!
In John 3:19, the chapter on the new birth, John wrote, ‘that men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.‘
The Narrow Gate is the Way to Salvation and the Only road that Leads to Heaven
The Highway to Holiness
“And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
What is the Broad Gate?
The broad gate leads to destruction and many enter through it.. it leads to death, deception, lies, herd mentality, sin of every kind, darkness, fear, anxiety, the absence of God, self-absorption, greed, pride, jealousy, envy, sloth, anger, violence, adultery, murder, hatred, sexual immorality, and so on.
The wide gate leads to death (spiritual death) and is the road to Hell
If it’s the road to Hell, why then do so many people stay on it and not enter through the narrow gate that leads to heaven? It’s a good question, but the truth is, they don’t want to. They live for the pleasures of today, satisfying the cravings of the flesh, without a thought for tomorrow. They go to church to look good, but there is no change in their hearts.
The broad road that leads to Hell is an easy path to find and to travel on. It’s easy and it’s comfortable because there are no rules or regulations. You just live how you please with no accountability whatsoever. It’s what people like to call freedom – total tolerance.
In this “anything-goes culture”, there is no need for God, because man himself takes the place of God. They see themselves as supreme.
There is nothing wrong with self-development, but to think that you can reach a state of godliness or holiness by disobeying God’s word is to live as a fool. The narrow way is the way of wisdom. Only a fool does not fear God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
On the broad way, there is no inner work to be done because the road is easy. There is no sacrifice required, no commitment needed, no faithfulness, no boundaries, no morality, no denying of self.
It’s all just about satisfying the flesh. In a church like this, there is no call to repentance, and the wickedness of sin is not preached. They will pray and act like they are doing the work of God, when in reality their hearts are like stone. There is no fruit in their lives and no love in their hearts.
The Day of Judgement
There are 2 things you could hear on Judgement Day:
- “Well done! my good and faithful servant.”
- “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoer!”
In Luke 13, as Jesus went through the towns and villages, someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” Jesus answered:
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
It’s evident that Jesus is referring to life after death. When we die, we will all have to give an account of our lives, how we lived. Those who entered through the narrow gate will automatically enter heaven, but those who chose to stay on the broad path, will try to get in, but the door will be shut. It will be too late!
Matthew 7 writes:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Jesus is clearly addressing the church in this passage telling them that even if you do all these deeds in my name, but do not have a repentant heart, you are not welcome in the kingdom of God. Only those who do the will of the Father will enter in.
Therefore, we must practice what the bible teaches! Words are not enough. It’s a tough message for the ones who think they are saved, but a beautiful warning for the sincere children of God. A real Christian must be careful as there are MANY in the churches who wish to destroy them and lead them down the wrong path.
This text is not an easy one to discuss, but it’s important to warn the genuine souls who are seeking after God’s righteousness and want to secure their place in Heaven.
Why is it that there are so many of these churches and the people feel happy in them? Surely they don’t all want to go to Hell?
No! of course they don’t want to go to Hell – that’s just the point! Both churches (the narrow and broad ways) are preaching The WAY TO HEAVEN, but only one of them delivers.
False prophets pose a real danger to believers, but Jesus cares about his followers (His sheep), as a good shepherd cares for His flock, so he warns us, and He also teaches us how to spot false prophets (or false disciples). He said, ‘you will know them by their fruits.’
Jesus is saying that there are many false teachers in the church and if you are not careful, you will be lead astray, for they are workers of iniquity. They belong to Satan, the Father of Lies.
So, be careful dear ones, you must learn to have a discerning heart.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
The bottom line is, are you practicing the teachings of Jesus? I’m not judging anyone. In fact, writing this article is a good way for me to keep a check on my own heart. As followers of Jesus Christ (true disciples), we need to live in obedience, which means following the teachings of the Bible and putting them into practice every day, yes every day!
Remember what Jesus said, ‘you will know them by their fruit.’ A truly transformed person (a child of God), should be producing good fruit in their life. It should be visible, both in word and deed.
So, we must strive to enter through the narrow gate. To strive means, to make every effort, to agonize, to fight, to struggle. The narrow way is difficult and Jesus asks us, are we able?
In the words of Oswald Chambers, “if we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all efforts of worth and excellence are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in— it stirs us up to overcome.”
So, let us Strive to enter through the narrow gate:
“…for, many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:24)
For anyone who doesn’t know me, I have started writing a newsletter over on Substack and it’s titled, The Narrow Gate. This article is taken from there. To read more from the narrow gate, just click the link above.