THE STRAIT GATE & THE NARROW WAY
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Without context, the focus of most Christians becomes the gate. The message presented in many places today is one of being “born again” with little thought of entering the Kingdom of God. Religion likes things simple and easy and the English language plays into this concept very well. However, in the Greek language, there is a whole different thought to what Jesus is saying to us.
“Because strait is the gate, and narrowing (compressing) is the way,
which is leading unto the life, and few there be that are finding it.”
Literal Greek Translation
The Greek tense used here is the Participle mood, best translated here with an “ing” suffixed to the basic verb form. This communicates to us a progressive walk and an on-going sense of growth and development. The narrowing or compressing of the way is the daily experience of all who would find the resurrection Life of Jesus. The leading speaks of following Him with the discovery that death to the outward man is the path to experiencing His life within. Discipleship is the life of the narrowing way, and few there are who choose this path.
Seeing vs. Entering
We hear much of the scripture:
“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
However, Jesus goes on in his discourse to Nicodemus:
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God”
While many of God’s children are content with seeing the Kingdom, there is a cry within the heart of God that some enter into the Kingdom. There is a pursuit and a cost involved with this entrance. The narrowing and confinement of the path must be walked in the reality of our hearts. We discover that this way is neither popular nor easy. It is the way of the Cross. It is found in the following of Him, not in the structured ways of men. It leads us into the wilderness where we discover that He came not only to forgive us but to save us from our sins and self-will. Of necessity we must be born not only of water (the cleansing aspect of His life) but also of the Spirit (the empowering aspect of His life) where we find enablement to overcome the issues that bind us. This birthing of the Spirit is also accompanied by the fire of His life to purge the dross and the impurities from our hearts. It is a purifying that no amount of washing will ever accomplish.
The strait gate is the introduction to the Narrow Way. The Gate is not an end in itself as many suppose. It is merely the beginning ever leading us farther on the Narrowing Way wherein we discover the “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our God.
“We want to reach the kingdom of God,
but we don’t want to travel by way of death.
And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’
Do not hesitate, man, to go this way,
when this is the way that God came to you.”
It is the broad and easy road which leads to destruction. A crossless walk is the way of the broad and easy way, its end is judgment and misery.
“…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many are the ones entering in through it”
“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”