Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 7:13-14.
Matthew 7:13 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 that go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
This teaching is a parable. The two ways are those of unbelief and of faith, the ways of ignorance and of knowledge, the ways of falsehood and of truth, the ways of death and of life.
The way of unbelief seems wide and easy, while the way of faith seems narrow and hard. The problem is that in this life we do not see the end. We do not see the destination. The great faith chapter begins, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Christ reveals here, however, that one way leads to destruction and the other to life.
The way of unbelief requires no creed, no confession of faith, and no ethical code of conduct. It promises wide latitude and freedom. It asks nothing of you but whatever you want.
The alternative is a strait gate. You must confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. You must believe, as Christ declared, that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man comes to the Father but by him (John 14:6). There is salvation in none other: for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Some have called this the “scandal of particularity.”
Once through the gate, the path is also narrow. Christ calls upon any man who comes after him to deny himself, to take up his cross daily, and to follow him (Luke 9:23). Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for the sake of Christ will find it (Luke 9:24).
Remember the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-24). When Christ demanded he enter the strait gate and walk the narrow way, he went away sad because he had much (v. 22). Christ added that it is hard (but not impossible) for a rich man to go through the needle’s eye (v. 24).
Christ is describing here the way of faith (the gate) and the way discipleship (the way).
This teaching is about discerning one’s way in life, but it is really about obedience. Our all-wise Teacher, our all-competent Guide, stands at the crossroads and tells us which way to go: “Enter ye in at the strait gate.” The question is whether we will obey him.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle