13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV).
This statement by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount parallels Luke 13:22-24. Luke records, “22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:22-24 ESV).
Enter (εἰσέρχομαι; eiserchomai) is an active imperative verb. Jesus is giving a command for individuals to go into a particular entry way into heaven. Jesus called it the narrow gate. Narrow (στενός; steno) means a restricted or strait gate. Gate (πύλη pylē) is an entrance or passage. The grammar of these two words indicates that the narrow, or strait, gate, or entrance, is the only way into the God’s kingdom.
The reason for this exclusive entry way into a covenant relationship with God has to do with destination. Jesus said, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” The road to hell is wide and spacious. Consequently, those who are on this road and approaching the gates of hell are many. They are from all walks of life. Their destination is destruction (ἀπώλεια; apōleia) or waste.
Contrastingly, Jesus taught, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The destination for the few is life (ζωή; zōē).
“Both the narrow gate and the wide gate are assumed to provide the entrance to God’s kingdom. Two ways are offered to people. The narrow gate is by faith, only through Christ, constricted and precise. It represents true salvation in God’s way that leads to life eternal. The wide gate includes all religions of works and self-righteousness, with no single way (cf. Acts 4:12), but it leads to hell, not heaven,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.
John’s Gospel indicates that Jesus is not only the gate unto salvation (John 10:1-10) He also is the only way (John 14:1-6).
“You live in a culture that tells you every single day that the most important virtue you have is to be broad minded, and the most politically incorrect thing is to be narrow minded and have narrow views. There is only one way to God? Jesus is the only way? How narrow is that? According to our culture, we are to embrace pluralism and relativism. No one has an exclusive claim to truth—that is way too narrow minded,” states Dr. R. C. Sproul.
“I regularly hear language in the church where people describe themselves as “broad evangelicals.” Did you hear that? “I’m a broad evangelical.” A broad evangelical is an oxymoron. If you are evangelical, if you really believe the gospel, then you have chosen the narrow path, and you have said: “This way and none other. One Christ, no more. Jesus is the monogenēs, the only begotten of the Father. All the rest are thieves and robbers.”
There are two gates and two roads. Which one are you on as you travel through this life? Your answer is a matter of life and death.
Soli deo Gloria!