The Meaning of the Command to Enter the Narrow Gate

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that sheep_gateleads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt. 7:13). Jesus is not talking to unbelievers. Rather, He is speaking to believers. Jesus is not calling people to be saved through the narrow gate. Instead, Jesus is calling believers to live under the kingdom of God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the demands of the kingdom to believers. Hence, the kingdom lifestyle is the narrow gate. Now He calls believers to enter the narrow gate—to live by the rule of God.

The narrow gate is a metaphor about the ways of the kingdom of God. The wide gate is a symbol of the ways of the kingdom of this world. The narrow gate leads to eternal life. The wide gate leads to eternal death. The narrow gate represents the hard way of following Christ. The wide gate represents the easy way of following the world.

There is a story of a grand old church. On its ancient stones was inscribed the message, “This is the Gate of Heaven. Enter ye all by this door.”

But on the door the staff had placed a sign, “(This door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side entrance).”[1]

Jesus has just concluded His teachings about the kingdom. The narrow way of life, therefore, is the life of obeying the will of God. The narrow way is the hard way of the demands of Christ. It is the hard way of obeying the words of Jesus. In the immediate context, the narrow gate is the Golden Rule—of doing to others everything that you want them to do to you. It is the narrow way of applying Jesus’ words in your life, of building your house on the rock of God’s Word (Matt. 7:21-27). To enter then into the narrow gate is to enter into the life of the kingdom. It is to enter the life of following Christ, the life of Christ-centered discipleship.

Jesus is urging us to go into the narrow gate. He is exhorting us to choose the life of following Christ. Jesus is inciting us to decide to obey His teachings.

Are you a follower of Christ today? Maybe you’re here today, and you have heard the words of Jesus. You are aware of the demands of the kingdom of God. You are conscious of the word of God.

But you are yet undecided about following Christ. Jesus is calling you today to make a choice. He is urging you to enter the narrow gate. He is exhorting you to choose to obey His teachings. He is encouraging you to decide to follow the ways of the kingdom. He is urging you today to enter the life of following Christ.

Will you make that decision today?

[1] “Odd Signs from England,” Comic Relief Culture Class. Cited September 4, 2015. Online: http://www.c4vct.com/kym/humor/englsign.htm.

 

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