Understanding the Red Letters Part 10
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
How many times have you heard the straight and narrow way described as a way of life? We are taught all kinds of sin management ideas for staying on the straight and narrow or how to keep our fellow believers in line on the straight and narrow way.
I don’t believe that Jesus is describing a way OF life at all. This passage is a picture of the way TO life. Legalists like to focus on what it takes to stay on the straight and narrow; what rules must be followed to keep on this path of right living; what man-made traditions will keep us on the straight and narrow.
Let me give you this assurance. When you believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ you entered into the narrow way. When you believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ, you entered through the narrow gate. How do I know that? Jesus is the narrow way. Jesus is the narrow gate.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’ “ (John 14:6). Jesus is the narrow way. And entering by this way, entering by faith in Jesus, puts us on the path to life.
“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:9-10). Jesus is the narrow gate. And entering by this gate, entering by faith in Jesus, puts us on the path to life. When we enter the narrow way by the narrow gate through faith in Jesus, we receive the promise of life eternal and life abundant. This promise is yours today.
The narrow way is not a lifestyle of rules to follow. It is the path TO life; promised to all who believe in Jesus. Please, don’t worry if you are doing enough to stay on the straight and narrow. Please, do not carry an angst about whether or not you are on the straight and narrow. Please, do not let shame-inducers make you question your salvation and suggest that you are on the broad way leading to destruction if you are not doing well enough in your righteous efforts.
Is righteous living important? Yes, and it is grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness and live righteous lives. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Christ living His life through us is how we experience this grace to live righteously. This is a large topic for another day, but back to our main point.
You can rest in the assurance that if you have believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ, you have entered by the narrow gate and you are firmly and safely and eternally on the narrow way. Your path is secure.