13. 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. 14. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Have you ever read a passage in the bible so many times over the years only to find that one day you read it and hits you like never before??? like for the first time that it really hits you and makes you ponder and think and pray??? This verse did that for me.
I don't know about you, but I want to be certain that I am on the narrow way. The narrow gate is by faith, only through Christ, constricted and precise. It represents true salvation in God's way that leads to eternal life. The wide gate includes all religions of works and self righteousness, with no single way, but it leads to hell, not heaven.
Christ continually emphasized the difficulty of following Him;
Mathew 10:38 - And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (He is demanding a total commitment from us!)
Mathew 16:24-25 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. 25. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it". (again demanding a total commitment from us, even unto physical death!)
John 15:18-19 - If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (I love this...I am chosen... this was tough for me to grasp when I realized this, but Wow, how humbling.)
John 16:1-3 - These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.
(The connotation of the word 'stumbling' has the idea of setting a trap. Remember this verse was talking about Paul, before he was saved, and how he personified this attitude as he persecuted the church, thinking that he was doing service for God! After Paul was converted, the persecutor became the persecuted because of the hatred of the world.)
Acts 14:22 - strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kindom of God".
(His way is narrow!)
Salvaton is by grace alone, but it is not easy. It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord and a willingness to obey His will and His word.
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdon of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.
May I encourage you to spend time daily studying God's word and making the time to pray to your heavenly Father.