Psalms 118:19-21 NIV
“Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.”
Reading this brought to mind this passage from Matthew 7:13-14 NIV:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
And it also brought to mind this passage from John 10:7-10 NIV:
“Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’”
There are two paths which we may follow in this life, and two gates through which we may enter. The first one is the narrow gate through which the sheep enter and the narrow path which the sheep follow, which is Jesus Christ. The second is a broad (or wide) gate and path through which the world enters and on which the world travels.
The gate of the righteous, which is the gate of the Lord, which is Jesus Christ, is the door (the way) to salvation from sin and eternal life with God. It is also the door into God’s eternal kingdom. But it is also a door into communion and fellowship with our maker, with our creator God, Jesus Christ, God the Son.
So, how do we enter through this gate and get on this narrow path? Through faith in Jesus Christ? Yes! But only if the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e., persuades us to follow Jesus Christ with our lives. He gifts us with the faith to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
So, what does that look like exactly?
We read in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith, and not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast. But that’s not the whole thing. V. 10 then says that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them. Message complete.
Let’s look at some other verses that say the same thing. We read in 1 Peter 2:24 that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:15 that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us.
We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross to redeem us (to buy us back for God) so that we would now honor God with our bodies (with our lives). And we read in Romans 6:6-18 that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness.
Do you see a pattern developing here?
Let’s look at Ephesians 4:17-24. We aren’t supposed to live like we did before we were saved, if we were saved. We aren’t supposed to give ourselves over to sensuality to engage in every kind of impurity. That isn’t what we should have been taught regarding our salvation.
What we should have been taught, with regard to our former way of life, is that we are to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. We are to be made new in the attitude of our minds, of the Spirit, and we are to put on the new self in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
And then let’s look at Titus 2:11-14. The grace of God which brings us salvation trains (instructs) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return.
Then, let’s look at what Paul taught in Romans 8. We are to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so. And if we live according to the flesh, we will die.
And then in 1 John 3:6-7 we read that if we make sin our practice, we do not know the Lord. But if righteousness is what we practice, then we are righteous. And then we read in 1 John 2:3-6 that we have come to know the Lord if we keep (are obeying) his commands, for if we are not obeying his commands, as a matter of practice, then we don’t know him.
Do you see what this is all saying?
Salvation from sin is not a one-time deal – we are in the kingdom of God, we live our lives, and when we die we get to go to heaven. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns and our salvation is complete.
But we have to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We have to abide in Christ and his word must abide in us. We must walk in obedience to his commands, and we must make righteousness our practice. And we must love our brethren and not hate them if we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
This is why the gate and the road are narrow and that few enter. We must die with Christ daily to sin and walk in obedience to our Lord, and we must not make sin our practice if we want to be saved and have eternal life with God.
Now, this brings me to this Scripture from Revelation 3:19-20 NIV:
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Jesus is talking to the church which is neither on fire for him or altogether opposed to him, but which is lukewarm, and so he is about to spit them out of his mouth. But he loves them and so he is still pursuing them. But in order to get them to turn back to him (or to him) he will have to discipline them. For, they are not following him. They are not on the narrow path.
Many people today who make professions of faith in Jesus Christ are not strongly opposed to Jesus but they also are not following him with their lives. They are still turning to the flesh to satisfy them instead of turning to God. They are still turning to their fleshly lusts instead of turning to walk on the path of righteousness. For their hearts are not surrendered to Christ.
According to Scripture, if they remain on that course, they will die in their sins, not have eternal life with God. So, if that is where you are today, take this to heart.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.