“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Christ speaks of two roads in the seventh chapter of Matthew (Matthew 7:13-14). He addresses the Pharisees, and communicates two paths in the journey of life – one leads to God – to the Kingdom of Heaven, the other portends to lead to God. Obviously, by the adjectival references it can be understood that the narrow road has fewer pilgrims upon it.
The wide road by contrast encompasses the majority of mankind. I used to believe that identifying these travelers was easy… they were atheists – people who denied God, sin, and the need for redemption… easy, right? Well, maybe not so quick.
Looking a little more carefully at the texts in all of Matthew 7, it is clear that road is filled with many others as well – including the religiosity of mankind, those who believe that they are seeking God (but really aren’t). Now the population of the wide road expands to include all those who are pursuing false God’s, cults (errant theological systems), and false expressions of Christianity, those who murder, those who lie, those who distort God’s good order.
This road would also include all those who are not truly following Christ; we would call them impostors. They call themselves followers of Christ, but deep down are only faking it. At the end of the road, Christ says to these people, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).
The wide road is a road of lawlessness, no rules or order, chaos. Each one proceeding in a manner according to his or her own liking, perhaps seeking some comfort, or “redemption through their own measures.”
In fact, Christ said, in John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” In saying this, He affirms the narrow road is exclusive, the narrow gate is Christ himself, and only those who pass through that gate will make it to the glorious end – Heaven.
The Journey on the wide road however, is bleak and ends in destruction. The sad part is, there is still more room on the wide road to destruction, plenty of room. The yawning jaws of death are inviting all to enter in. The good news is, there is still room to come in through the narrow gate; those gates are still open as well.
The one thing that distinguishes Christians, true Christians from the rest of the world is the presence of God. The distinguished people of God, reveal the presence of God, even the glory of God. If the presence of God is not with you; you are not different from the rest of the people, and you are not truly on the narrow road.
The wide road will continue welcoming false prophets, ravenous wolves, and all those who have chosen to walk in darkness, who have failed to embrace the truth of Jesus Christ. The wide gate will beckon until the number on the narrow path is complete, until that group is welcomed to the Journey’s End.
Those who have feigned, “Lord, Lord” will be directed away from Christ with the words, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:23). The wide road will be filled with those who have sought to distort God’s good order, who have called evil good, and good evil. Those who have exchanged darkness for light, and light for darkness – those who have been wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 5:20-21). It is the narrow road which leads to glory in Christ!
Both roads come with consequences; both lead to eternal destinations.
The ultimate challenge of life is to choose well.