The Way is Hard

Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He also said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture” (John 10:9). So, Jesus Christ is both the gate (the door) and he is the way (the road) that leads to eternal life with God.

So, how do we enter this gate? Jesus said that if we want to come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said, basically, that if we save our lives (hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness), for his sake, we will have eternal life with him (See Luke 9:23-25; cf. Romans 6:1-23; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 4:17-24).

So, Jesus Christ is the narrow gate, and the gospel he taught is the narrow gate, and the gospel his New Testament apostles taught is the narrow gate. And the only way to enter this gate is by the grace of God, via God-given faith in Jesus Christ. And it is not of our own doing. We cannot, in ourselves, decide what that narrow gate is. We can’t make it up to suit ourselves and to fit with our own lifestyles. But that is what many are doing, and that is what the majority appear to be accepting, which is a modified “narrow gate.”

But not only is this narrow gate being modified, but it is being turned into the wide gate that leads to destruction. For it is contrary to the gospel which Jesus taught and which his NT apostles taught. But many do not see this. In fact, many don’t want to see it. They want to see the wide gate as the narrow gate that leads to life, and many are choosing also to see the narrow gate as the one that leads to destruction. So they have turned truth for lies and lies for truth in order to appease their own consciences.

Now, this is important that we get this, for Jesus never taught that we can make a one-time profession of faith in him and now our sins are forgiven for eternity, and now heaven is guaranteed us when we die regardless of how we live. Go back and read Luke 9:23-26. He taught that we must deny ourselves, die daily to sin and to self, and that we must follow him in obedience. For if we do not obey him, we don’t know him, and we don’t have eternal life in him (Matthew 7:21-23; John 10:27-30; John 14:15-24).

And what did the Apostle John teach? He said that if we claim to be in fellowship with God while we still walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, we are liars who do not live by the truth. And if we say that we know the Lord, but we do not keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant), we are liars, and the truth is not in us. And if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness is not what we practice, we are of the devil, and we are not born of God (See 1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).

And what did the Apostle Paul teach? He taught that our faith in Jesus Christ should result in us being crucified and buried with Christ in death to sin, and in us being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer living as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey, that leads to death, not to eternal life with God. But if obedience to our Lord is what we obey, that leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and its end is eternal life (see Romans 6:1-23).

And he taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For to walk according to the flesh is to have our minds set on the flesh, and to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. So, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh, we will die. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live (Romans 8:1-14; cf. 1 Peter 2:24).

Paul also taught that we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) by the Spirit and we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. But if we make sin our practice, and we are idolaters, adulterers, liars, thieves, and the like, in practice (habitual and deliberate sin), we will not inherit the kingdom of God, and heaven will not be our eternal destiny. And he warned us against deception, for we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to the flesh, we will reap destruction, but if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.

[Galatians 5:16-24; Galatians 6:7-8; cf. Romans 1:18-32; Romans 2:6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 1:21-23; Colossians 3:5-11; Titus 2:11-14]

So, this narrow gate is all about, not just that initial step of faith in Jesus Christ, but it is about our walk of faith in Jesus Christ. It is about walking in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, and not in sin. So we are not saved with heaven secured us based on a one-time confession of faith in Jesus Christ, but on the basis of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ and on our obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant). And that is why few find it, because the way is hard that leads to life eternal.

So, if you are being taught that you can make a one-time confession of faith in Jesus Christ and now all your sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and now heaven is secured you when you die, but there is no talk of walking in obedience to the Lord and of living holy lives, as required of God for our salvation and eternal life, then you are not being taught the truth. Read the verses I referenced here. And read them in their full context. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteous living and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, we do not have eternal life with God, period!

So, believe in Jesus, and walk with him in holiness and in righteousness, and obey his commands (New Covenant), and no longer walk in sin. And continue in these walks of faith unto the very end and you will have eternal life with God. But if you choose not to, then you are choosing that wide (broad) gate and way which leads to destruction, not to eternal life with God. For it is few who enter the narrow gate and who find eternal life.

My Sheep

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.

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