Readers Question / Comment - <Title Here>

Hello,

Can you please explain to me your interpretation of the following verse?

The Narrow Gate
13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!

I have heard it interpreted in a few different ways … and I would be most interested in hearing what you have to say regarding it. I have heard it also mentioned as the narrow road and the wide and spacious road. One leading to everlasting life in heaven and the other to everlasting destruction.

Thanking you in advance for your help and input,
Mark


JPN Reply:

Hi Mark,

thanks for the question and email. Last year I finished doing my series on the I AM's of Jesus. Within that series were that statements of Jesus 'I am the gate' and 'I am the way', 'I am the life'. So when I read Jesus' statement about the gate and the life in Matt 7 I don't think of them as 'things' but as Him. Someone may ask is Jesus speaking of salvation or discipleship in this passage? I think it is primarily speaking of salvation but has application for both. What I mean is this...

Primarily Jesus is saying that He is the gate, He is the way and you have to enter through Him for life and salvation. That gate is narrow. It doesn't include other ways of salvation. He was speaking to Jews at the time who generally placed their hope in their obedience to the law of Moses and the teachings of the Pharisees. But this wasn't going to help them if they were clinging to their own works. At the end of the day there are only two ways - we can come through what God has done for us in the person of Christ or, like all other religions out there, you try come holding and pointing to what you have done. The first is the narrow way. The latter the broad. The first ends in life. The later destruction.

There is an application for the Christian life as well which is similar. When we think, as Christians, that advancement in the Christian life come down to our efforts and attempts to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, then the end is still the same - death. By that I don't mean eternal death, destruction or separation from God. But the death that Paul found and wrote about by trying to live the Christian life in his own strength in Romans 7 and ends up just discovering 'what I wretched man I am'. This is still the broad way amongst 'Christians'. It is still the narrow way (and always will be) to find that we are ever reliant upon Him, His life, even for being the Christian you have become. But it is the way to life (as again Paul discovered in Romans 8:1-4).

Hope this helps. God Bless,

Iain.