(Article for publication week of 12-3-2008 AD)
“”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 unto life, and few there be that find it.” ( Matthew 7:13-14). In this section of the Sermon on the Mount our Lord illustrates for us two vital doctrines- true conversion and true perseverance. For the next several weeks we will be considering more of the doctrine of conversion as given here by our Lord.
First of all , I call your attention to the truth that there are only two ways set before us- the narrow way, leading to life, and the broad way leading to death. There is no middle ground here. All of us are right now at this moment in one of two ways, either the narrow way or the broad way. We are either on our way to heaven or we are on our way to hell. Neighbour does that disturb you in the least. I grieve in my soul for my neighbours and kindred that go on day by day heed less of eternity. Dear ones, please wake up to the fact that if you are not in the narrow way you are lost and headed for hell.
Secondly , I call your attention to the way our Lord speaks here. He does not use some of the modern jargon we hear. I think it will do us well to imitate our Lord in our evangelism. Rather than asking people if they are “saved”, it would be better to ask them if they are in the narrow way. Here in our part of the world, it is hard to find any one who is not saved (to hear them tell it). You think because you prayed a prayer or made a decision you are saved. But friend , are you in the narrow way? Be sure if you are not in the narrow way, you are not saved, and you are lost and on your way to hell.
Thirdly, please note there is only one way into the narrow way, and that is through the strait gate. Now we need to note that the word strait is an archaic word that we seldom use. (Some would suggest that we should discard our reliable authorized translation since it has archaic words and replace it with modern versions translated from the corrupt Alexandrian texts, and the corrupt text by Westcott and Hort, but we should rather reacquaint ourselves with the language of our ancestors and keep our reliable Authorized Version translated from the Textus Receptus). The word strait means “difficult”. Salvation is not as easy as most people think. True conversion, getting saved is a very difficult thing. We are reminded of our Lord’s words in Matthew 19:24, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle , than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The gate of salvation is hard to get through. It is so hard that you will not get through it except by Divine Grace.
The strait gate is the exclusive way of salvation. Our Lord said in John 14:6, “I am THE way.” we read in Acts 4;12, “Neither is there salvation in any other”. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 10:1 “He that entereth not by the door of the sheepfold, but cometh up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Christ is the exclusive door of salvation. You will not get into the narrow way that leads to life any other way except by faith in Him.
Fourthly, we see in this text that there must be a conscious entering in to salvation. The idea that God saves people and leaves them in their ignorance is shown to be a great error by this text; or the idea that you can just complacently wait for the Lord to save you as some vainly suppose; or the idea that you can use salesmanship or psychology to get people saved without them hardly even knowing what happened. No my friend, if you have not consciously pressed through the strait gate, you are not saved. Now may the Lord give grace that someone may seek, find and enter the strait gate of conversion today.