Narrow Is The Way (last update to this study was made on 04/11/2003)
In Matthew we read a commonly quoted verse "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which 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." (Matt 7:13-14 KJV).
These wonderful words of Jesus speak volumes beyond what we have understood them to mean in the past. We can plainly see that Jesus addressed two paths or direction in this life. One is accessed by entering through at the strait gate in comparison to a wide gate. One is narrow while the other is broad. One leads to life while the other to destruction. Jesus tells us that many will go the way that is broad while few will find the way to life.
In the past, many of us may have thought that this verse was referring to our 'eternal destiny', whether we will spend all of eternity in a heaven or a hell, etc., etc. However, we ought to first take note that there is no mention at all in this verse about our eternal destiny. It is clearly talking about two ways, one that leads to destruction and another to life. The life in which he speaks is that life which can only be found in God. It is a path in which the vulture's eye has not seen, a path in which no flesh can be found on it. It is a life that must be sought for only in seeking will one find anything of substance or value. It is a life which must be born of the Spirit and water for a person must be born of both to enter the kingdom of God. It is an inner life for our life is hid in Christ. It is a life that is hard to find as we often try all other avenues first, including religious ones, only to find that they lead to destruction, ruin and spiritual loss.
Matthew states 16:26 states "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" To 'lose' your own soul is to receive damage to it, to experience detriment, to be cast away, to suffer loss. The same word is used in the greek for 'loss' when Paul states in I Corinthians 3:16 "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." The man shall suffer loss, experience detriment, be cast away, receive damage. Yet, the man shall be saved! The loss is hard, it is an experience that is difficult, it is something less than the very best. However, it is not an eternal loss. The man shall be saved!
Though not the exact same greek word, the same idea or principle found in I Corinthians - chp 3 can be applied to Matthew - chp 7 and to the word DESTRUCTION. This word means perish, waste or perdition. It is not a positive word but one that is negative. It is an experience reserved for the ungodly, for the one with heresies, for the one that is unlearned, unstable and wrestles with the scripture to their own destruction, their own spiritual loss. All that go this way will only experience waste, loss and destruction. This way can only offer these negative results.
In summary, our text verse is dealing with two ways. One that leads to life and the other loss. While we have our sojourn on this planet called earth, one will either experience life or they will experience destruction. Many are called but few are chosen. Few ever find this path of life. Yet when all fails and a person comes to the end of themselves in all of their religious doing and means to achieve a spiritual goal or end, it is often the perfect time for the Spirit of the Lord to say -- it is time to return to the Father's house -- it is time to enter in at the strait gate. It is a narrow way and only those led by the Spirit will withstand the myriad of pressures of this path. For with much tribulation (pressure), we enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus is the way, the only way and He is the life, the only life for all else that is commonly called life is really death. His way may be both strait and narrow, yet it yields the life of the indwelling Christ, the very life of God Himself for it was God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Let us find that way which leads to the LIFE of the Spirit.