Not So Random Thoughts 25

Matthew 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. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 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.’

Perhaps the point can be stressed too much, but one would have to stress it for a long time and focus on nothing else to do so. The Bible sets out two roads and those two roads are for religious people. Those are not two roads that each person in the world is on, but is instead two roads for religious people or perhaps it can be said that those two roads are for professing Christians who think that they are on a road to heaven. Perhaps we should go even further and say that these roads are for people who are serious about their Christianity. This would be consistent with the context as Jesus was speaking to Jews who were serious about their religion. He was not speaking to Gentiles and the world, but to a specific and very religious people.

If this is a correct way of viewing the text, it should also be an awakening way of viewing the text as well. It may be that “I” am on the broad road. It may be that “I” am religious and yet do not have Christ in truth. It may be that “I” have chosen my own narrow gate and am on the broad road rather than taking the gate of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ in some way is always pointing to Himself. He and He alone is the narrow gate through which people must pass through in order to be on the narrow road that leads to life. The Pharisees wanted to set out laws and make rules by which they could be righteous in their own eyes, but Jesus points out how they actually violated the real law. This should instruct us not to find ways to be righteous in our own eyes, but instead look to Christ and His righteousness. This should also teach us that we need grace to look to Christ as well. It is the Lord Jesus who can give us grace that we may look to Him.

Jesus Christ is the narrow gate because it is in Him alone that a person is on the way of life since Christ is Life Himself. In order to go through the narrow gate a person must repent of self, of pride, and of ownership to self. But of course it should be clear that no one can repent of those things by the power of self since self would not be repented of at that point. It is only grace that can work a true repentance from self in the heart. Jesus taught us in Matthew 18 that unless we are turned (passive) and become like children we cannot enter the kingdom. Ah, now we can see just how narrow this really is. Men and women must give up their free-will in order to be converted by the free-grace of God. They must be humbled to the point where they see and in reality rest in nothing of self to convert self or help them in obtaining Christ. It is a very narrow gate.

We are saved/justified/redeemed by Christ plus nothing else. The only salvation there can possibly be is Christ and Christ alone and He only saves by His grace alone. The gate is so narrowed to Christ that sinners have no room for self, for pride, for self-righteousness, and for their own religion regardless of how strict it is. The gate is not narrow and therefore men must be strict in their religion, but the gate is narrow because men must give up all their religion. The gate is narrow because men must give up on self-ownership and the very essence of self. The gate is narrow because only those who are sinners and have no hope in self or anything but Christ are allowed in. The gate is narrow because there is no room for self-righteousness as the only righteousness needed or wanted is the righteousness of Christ. The gate is narrow because only grace is allowed there. How we must seek the Lord to give us grace that we may seek more and more grace from Christ and also in Christ.

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