We certainly live in an age of convenience. It is often amusing to see how some people will go to great lengths to avoid difficulty and take the easy way out for doing things. For example, a stove seems archaic in the wake of the modern microwave where, for some, if it is not microwavable, forget it! Another example is the use of stairs where some seem to think stairs are only for emergencies or going down; going up is where the elevator comes in, right? What may come as no surprise is that many take that same convenience approach toward their spiritual lives.
As Jesus begins to conclude His Sermon on the Mount, He tells those in attendance about a distinct path they ought to follow and to enter through a specific gate. Jesus said:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it, for the gate is small and the way narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”Matthew 7:13-14
The narrow gate represents the entrance by which one enters into heaven through Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The path leading to the narrow gate is difficult to traverse, full of obstacles and hazards of varying sorts that make it a road less traveled according to Scripture. It is symbolic of the Christian walk in this brief journey we call life, making the wide gate and broad road more desirable.
The wide gate represents the entrance by which one enters into the lake of fire to face eternal separation from God, a place many Bible translations refer to as hell, the English term for the Greek word Gehenna. Nonetheless, the lake of fire is a place Jesus describes as an “eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46) where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:50) amid an “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43). The broad road is easy to travel with no obstacles or hazards that one must contend with making it the preferred choice for many.
The people who travel along the broad road are those who hold an unrepentant heart for their sins. Yes, the broad road offers travelers an abundance of liberties and instant gratifications that serve their worldly desires. The longer one travels it, the less likely they will see the multitude of warning signs that signal their impending danger. Sadly, many do not realize the danger of the broad road they follow, believing such a demise is meant for the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Bin Laden.
What may surprise some is that the broad road is also traveled by those who tell little white lies, those who hold a begrudging attitude towards others, or in other words, by people who have unrepentant sin in his or her life. For God, sin is sin; he does not judge sin based on a curve. He does not weight one offense higher than another, or in other words, a little white lie is just as condemning as a whopper of a lie. To God, sin is sin, and there are no minor or major offenses. The Bible says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).
The good news is until people pass through that wide gate, that is to say, when they transition from this life to the next by way of physical death, they can always find their way to the narrow path and gate. They can always turn to Jesus and accept Him as their Savior and Lord because the Bible says, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
Jesus cites Himself as being “the way” and to follow Him is to walk along the narrow path that He exemplified throughout His earthly ministry. As Christians, followers of the risen Lord Jesus, we must take each step through life carefully and cautiously to avoid the temptations of the world that are cast at us by its present ruler, Satan. The narrow gate is symbolic of Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross whereby no one can go to the Father, who is in heaven, except by way of Jesus Christ.
At the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provided a range of indicators by which we can ascertain the path we travel. If a person is truly poor in spirit, mournful, gentle, hungry for righteousness, peaceable, and pure at heart in keeping with God’s word, that person is traveling the road less traveled, the narrow path towards the gate that leads to heaven, who is Christ our Lord.
If you would like to travel the narrow path, which is to follow Jesus, be encouraged to find a Christian friend or go to your local Bible-believing Bible-preaching church, tell your friend or someone at the church you want to accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord. That person will gladly guide you in the steps to do so. If you do so, please let us know here at AFS so we can rejoice with you and pray for you.