The Reasons for the Command to Enter the Narrow Gate

6_two-roads-gates“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt. 7:13). Note the conjunction, “for” (hoti), which means, “because, since.” (Gingrich) Jesus gives two reasons for the command to enter the narrow gate. The first reason is the wide gate. Enter the narrow gate then, because the wide gate, the easy way, leads to destruction.

Jesus gives three descriptions of the wide gate. First, the wide gate is the easy way. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy” (Matt. 7:13). The phrase, “the gate is wide,” is parallel to, “the way is easy.” The “gate” is the same as the “way.”

The adjective, “wide” (platus), means, “broad, wide.” The NASB translates it—“the way is broad.” The parallel adjective, “easy” (euruchoros), means, “broad, spacious.” It pertains “to being broad and spacious, with the implication of agreeable and pleasant.” (Louw-Nida) It implies a place of pleasantness and comfort—a comfort zone.

A man died and went to heaven. He was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter who led him down the golden streets. They passed mansions after beautiful mansions until they came to the end of the street where they stopped in front of a shack.

The man asked St. Peter why he got a hut when there were so many mansions he could live in.

St. Peter replied, ‘I did the best with the money you sent us.’[1]

For that man, it is easy to give little, but hard to give a lot. The wide gate is the easy way. The wide gate makes it easy to enter; hence, it is the easy way. In some manuscripts—“for the way is wide and easy.” (ESV)

The wide gate implies the easy way of following sin. It is the easy way of undemanding discipleship. It is religion without repentance. It is devotion without discipleship. It is discipleship without discipline. It is sacrifice without sanctification. It is the easy way of comfort—free of sacrifice for Christ and free of pressure from the world.

Second, the wide gate leads to destruction. The word, “destruction” (apoleia), means, “ruin, annihilation.” (Gingrich) The parallel word in v. 14 is “life.” Hence, destruction means death, the opposite of life. The noun, “destruction,” is linked with the noun, “life,” in Matthew. Matthew uses the noun, “life,” (eiserchomai) to refer to eternal life of the kingdom. “For the gate is narrow . . . that leads to life” (v. 14). The word, “life,” denotes the eternal life of the kingdom. Thus, the word, “destruction,” denotes eternal death. The wide gate leads to eternal death.

Third, the wide gate is entered by many people. The gate is wide; the way is easy. It is so easy that there are no kingdom demands to satisfy. There is no requirement to repent your sin. There is no call to follow Christ. There is no obligation to obey God’s will. Many people therefore will enter this easy way.

It is but natural to sin, but unnatural to repent sin. It is natural to obey your sinful nature, but unnatural to resist your sinful nature. It is natural to follow the ways of the world, but unnatural to follow the ways of the kingdom. Many people therefore will enter the wide gate.

[1] “Pearly Gate Humor,” Java Casa Music and Media. Cited September 4, 2015. Online: http://javacasa.com/humor/pearlygate.htm.

 

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