The Strait and the Wide Gate

Matthew 7: 13-14. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

This is another very familiar passage.  I always think of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress when I read these verses, remembering the choices Pilgrim had to make along the way.

Strait: Narrow. Like the Verrazano Straits, or the Straits of Magellan.  Confining, difficult to navigate, no room for error.

The Way: Jesus said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. . .no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The gate (door) is Christ Himself.  So, with true salvation being as simple as belief, repentance, and acceptance, then why is the gate narrow? 

This, to me, is one of the greatest ironies of our conflicted human nature. The truth is, we want to cling to our own righteousness. We want to dictate our own terms with God, so we refuse what He offers. What does He offer?  Salvation by grace, through faith; Christ, and Christ alone.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood; When all around my sould gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

                                                   Edward Mote and Wm. B. Bradbury

We, however, want to find some way to do it ourselves.  To choose the narrow way is to give up one’s own pride; it is to admit one’s complete depravity; it is to acknowledge one’s utter lack of power to create his own salvation.

And because we don’t like the narrow way, we turn with the throngs of others who choose the broad way of man’s own devising. In this benighted age of ours, there are those who claim loudly that they are Christian, while denying the saving power of the Blood of the Lamb. They claim Christ, while denying His sinless, holy life and talk about His human relationship with Mary Magdalene. They even want us to believe that Jesus and Mary had children together, and that the descendants of those children walk among us today.  Such teaching is blasphemy. It denies the holiness of God, His Son, and the Spirit.

True believers choose the narrow way, and their path is often dangerous until they reach the arms of the Father.  Those who turn from the truth walk a broad and seemingly easy path, until they reach the end–to find that there is no going back.

Gaebelein says this: “The broad way that leads to destruction was never so thronged in the history of Christendom with such masses of professing, self-righteous, moral, educated, but Christ- and the blood- rejecting  ‘Christians’ as in these days, and still the word is true of the narrow gate and the straitened way that ‘few there are that find it.'” And he said that over 100 years ago!

(The melody here is not the one I grew up singing, but I like the combination of the well-known melody with these words.)

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