Sobering Thoughts 11

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.

The reason that people must go through the narrow gate is because of three things. One, the gate is wide that leads to destruction. Two, the way is broad that leads to destruction. Three, there are many who enter through that wide gate. (from Sobering Thoughts 10)

It appears from the verses above that it is not just that there are few in the entire population of humanity who enter through the narrow gate, but that there are few of those who are of the Christian religion who enter through that narrow gate. The narrow gate is meant to give us a picture of something that is hard to see and hard to enter, though it may be hard to enter because few even want to enter through something that narrow. We may be loathe to enter the narrow gain because there is no room going through that gate for self and pride. The Rich Young Ruler found that the gate was too narrow for him to enter with his riches.

What we must be faced with is that that this narrow gate is too narrow to enter with anything in our hands. We cannot hold on to various lusts and loves. We cannot hold on to various things of the world. The gate is so narrow that we have to die to self and offer up self to be crucified in order to enter that narrow gate. It may be that we will have to suffer shame in order to enter that gate. It may be that we will have to give up all that we have in terms of respect of the world or financial things to enter the gate. This is a narrow gate and we must deny self and all the things of self if we are to enter.

In Matthew 18 we are told that we must be turned and become like children to enter the kingdom. We must lose all of our rights (so to speak) and be humbled into the dust where we receive all things as do very small children. Very small children do not worry about riches and honor, they just hold out their hands and quite apart from merit they are trusting in they receive. The simply receive all based on who their parents are. That narrow gate must be entered because the wide gate leads to destruction. The wide gate has enough room for some pride and some of self and some of religion in it. The wide gate may appear quite narrow to some and so they repent of many things, but there is still some room for them to enter with a few things.

It may be impossible to overstate the importance of nothing that the wide gate may appear small and yet it is far easier than the narrow gate. The narrow gate allows a person through with absolutely nothing. The wide gate will allow a few things to many things, though there may be some requirement. The wide gate is quite consistent with the things of religion, even orthodox religion and even a very stringent morality. The wide gate will allow enough pride and self through to damn a person, but perhaps not enough through so that pride and self can be easily seen. The wide gate is just wide enough to allow the things that the heart cherishes and wants to hide. The wide gate is just wide enough to allow many religious people in so that they will not have to truly and fully repent.

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