The Strait and Narrow

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, KJV).

These familiar verses are a portion of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). He was teaching the multitudes at this time about the coming kingdom of God. He showed them the character of one who would be part of that kingdom so they would be prepared when the time came. These two verses help show the type of person who would be Jesus’ disciple and, as a result, obtain salvation.

A Disciple is One Who Chooses to Follow Christ

Human beings possess what we might call “free moral agency.” We are free to decide what we are going to do and how we are going to live our lives. All of us have one choice to make that is far more important than any other. That choice is whether we are going to serve God or not. Jesus encourages us to decide to follow Him – “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” What will our decision be?

A Disciple is One Who Does not Follow the Crowd

The sad truth seen in this passage is that most people are not going to be saved. Christians cannot be of the mind to simply follow the crowd. The majority of people are going to be lost. We need to have enough conviction to stand up against what may be popular, common, or accepted and resist those things. Those who follow the crowd are not following Christ.

A Disciple is One Who Searches for Truth

The narrow way is the way of truth. Jesus said He was “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In contrast to the “many” who go down the broad way to destruction, “few” will take the narrow way. Furthermore, Jesus said that those who enter the “strait gate” are the ones who “find it.” We need to be willing to search for that which is right. We will be saved only if we search out and find the truth. Jesus’ words in His prayer to the Father tell us where we will find the truth – “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). We need to look to God’s word to show us the way of salvation and guide us on the path of righteousness.

A Disciple is One Who Continues in the Way of Truth

Jesus taught here that those who would be His disciples must enter through the “strait gate” and proceed down the “narrow” way. If we want to be rewarded in the end for our service, we must continue down that path. We cannot give up before we are finished. Jesus told the church in Smyrna, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Paul wrote to Timothy near the end of his life and said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” Because Paul remained faithful to the end, he could confidently say, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Let us remember these lessons from this brief but important passage. We must decide to follow Christ. In doing so we are going to have to reject the majority who are in the world going down the wrong path. We need to diligently study God’s word to find the truth. Upon learning the truth, we must obey and continue in it. If we do these things, then we, like Paul, will be able to confidently say, “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8).

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