"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.Matthew 7:13(NASB)
In His Sermon on the Mount, it was not a great multitude of people that heard Christ's important discourse, for Jesus was only teaching His disciples. It was only the followers of Christ who came to Him who were taught the many truths in this important passage of Scripture. We read that when Christ saw the multitudes, He went up into a mountain and His disciples came to Him and Jesus started to teach these important truths to His followers - alone.
Many scholars only look at this passage as applying to the two roads that lead to heaven and hell and the two destinies that await every member of the human race. The narrow way, which is found by few, is rightly seen as a difficult path which is found by grace through faith in Christ, knowing that He is the only Way to the Father, and He is the only Gate into eternal life and heavenly bliss. The broad way is therefore identified as the road that the majority of the human race will take and is conversely seen as the easy path which leads to destruction and the fires of hell.
But although there is certainly a legitimate application to saved and unsaved people taking the narrow and broad ways respectively, Christ was not teaching about the two destinations of the whole human race (heaven or the lake of fire), but the two alternative routes that Christians are required to choose after they have been justified by grace through faith in Christ.
Jesus was teaching His followers that there are two ways to travel through their Christian life: The spiritual gateway; which leads to an abundant and victorious life as we travel through this world where the Lord is glorified in us, or the carnal gateway; where the final result will be loss of reward for a wasted, defeated life where God was dishonoured by one of His blood-bought children.
And so, in His Sermon of the Mount, it was not a great multitude of people that heard Christ's important discourse, for He was teaching His followers the meaning of true discipleship. Jesus was warning believers that the path to true discipleship is difficult and requires discipline, dedication, and death to SELF: self-indulgence, self-importance, self-centeredness, self-interest, self-seeking, and self-righteousness.
It was only the disciples of Christ who were taught to enter through the narrow gate. Only they were warned that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to a destroyed life. Only they were forewarned of the consequences of entering through the wrong gate which results in destruction - self-destruction - a life lived without meaning - a wasted life where Christ was not central and God was not glorified.
Whichever gate a Christian chooses to enter, God is faithful to His eternal promises to all who are saved by grace through faith in Him, and none will ever lose their eternal salvation. But the one who chooses to live for self is the one who enters the broad-way to destruction, losing their opportunity to die to self and to live for Christ. They will be eternally saved, yet as though by fire (as Paul explains to the Corinthian Christians), for they will have lived an unfruitful life and suffer loss of reward. Let us strive to enter in by the narrow gate and live a victorious and abundant life here on earth, where self is nailed to the cross and Christ is glorified in our bodies, to His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that in Christ, I have been saved by grace and have an eternal inheritance kept for me in heaven. I pray that I may die daily to all that is of self and live every day of my life for Christ. Help me to choose to enter the narrow gate of disciplined, dedicated discipleship, which leads to an abundant life here on earth. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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