“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“ —Mt 7:13-14 (NIV)
THE SMALL GATE AND NARROW THE ROAD
Just how small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life? First notice that two things must be found to obtain life? The narrow road and the small gate.
The Greek word for ‘narrow’ is ‘thlibo’ meaning: to press hard upon. The narrow road is hard pressed it is not easy to find and difficult to walk on.
The Greek word for ‘small’ is ‘stenos’ meaning strait: a narrow and sometimes dangerous passage that connects two larger bodies of water.
The small gate is a narrow passage between two large kingdoms, the world’s and the kingdom of Heaven. It’s a very narrow and difficult to navigate suggesting that a navigator must assist in one’s travel. Wasn’t that Christ’s ministry? He’s, the navigator, showing the way. Jesus taught His disciples to teach others to become disciples of Jesus too and so on and son down through the centuries.
“So, what does all this mean to me?” You may ask.
There are two important questions that you need to be ask.
- Am I walking on the narrow or the easy road?
- How can I tell?
Jesus is the author of the aforementioned narrow gate statement; therefore, if you are following Jesus and obeying His word then you’re traveling the narrow road. If you’re not following and obeying Jesus then you’re on the wide road leading to destruction.
How is it then that Jesus can say? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” —Mt 7:13-14 (NIV)
It stands to reason that because of what Jesus said that some who believe they are followers of Jesus, are in fact truly not! Which means they are instead on the wide road. A sad fate awaits these people. On that great day they will be confused, hurt and finally angry at God even blaspheming His name thus revealing their uncircumcised hearts.
WELL, HOW WIDE IS THE EASY ROAD THEN?
When we investigate the dichotomy of the two roads it is self evident from the scripture that many people travel the wide road. There are only two roads, one of which is extremely narrow and the other extremely the wide. It means then by default that virtually everyone, the vast majority of the world’s population, is on the wide road.
Because only a few find the narrow path.
How many is few?
Not many, few can never be many.
I.e. After Jesus was put to death on the cross He arose from the dead and met with His believers which totaled about 500. Meanwhile the total population in Jesus’s day numbered in the lower millions. That means Jesus, God in the flesh, the master of the universe was only able to make a very small percentage of followers from amongst the general population by the time he died. To illustrate just how few that really is for arguments sake let us round out the population to one million and determine what percentage 500 would be of the general population. So, 500/1000000 equals 0.0005 or 0.05% of the population. After the day of Pentecost another 3000 were added to their number. The total on the narrow road is now 3500/1000000 = 0.0035 or 0.35% which is still only about one-third of one-percent.
Please note these numbers are illustrative only, but also note that the population was many times the hypothetical. Hopefully, this will give you a pretty good feel or picture of how narrow the road is that leads to life.
What doe this mean to me today?
Approximately two thousand years have passed since Jesus spoke those words. If the road was narrow then it still means that the road is narrow now. Notice that Jesus didn’t mince words or make any exceptions or explanations. He didn’t say the road is narrow now, but will grow much wider later because of church growth. The expectation then is that it is still narrow.
Take a look around. Is that what you see?
According to Pew Research1 70.6% of Americans call themselves Christians. That’s a whopping 247,100,000 people out of 350,000,000 million. How does that compare to 0.35% of the population on the day of Pentecost?
0.35% of the American population today is 1,225,000 people. That means the odds or you ever meeting one on any given day is pretty slim! Also remember that .35% is being very generous.
“That’s baloney,” You say. “Christianity was bound to spread.” “It has been around for over two thousands years. It’s bound to get much larger. The Yellow Pages are full churches for crying out loud!”
Wasn’t that question addressed a few minutes ago? Jesus said the road is narrow. It will always be narrow.
Please note that these numbers are meant to portray that the road is still narrow. They are not actual numbers, but rather indicative. There may be more or even less people on the narrow road. However it is extremely important to know and understand what narrow really means in regard to true followers of Christ?
So it’s been demonstrated that the road is still narrow; yet there’s still a church practically on every corner in the USA. Furthermore as mentioned before Pew Research1 estimates that about 70.6% of the population is Christian? Note: This estimate does not count Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and other faiths.
Ask every preacher, pastor, priest, minister, bishop, cardinal, or prophet from the thousands of denominations in America today; if they are walking on the strait and narrow path. They all will, including Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, unequivocally say, “Yes!”
How can this be?
That is the reason why Jesus said not everyone who says to me, “Lord Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What have they done to be excluded?
They have essentially broadened Jesus teaching beyond His intended scope and have thus trodden onto the wide path unwittingly. These people are usually sincere, religious, good, kind and well-meaning from mankind’s perspective, yet they have veered and unknowingly wondered away from Jesus and this while believing otherwise.
What does this mean in regard to most denominations? That also means that most churches are on the wide road which leads to death.
I know, I know, this is very difficult lesson to swallow, but remember Jesus never said the way is going to be easy. He actually said the exact opposite.
Why then are there so many Christians today?
In the next part of this series Part III we’ll discuss false prophets and how they infected Christianity.
Hope to see you then.
In the mean time. Seek God, pray and ask Him for direction. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Dt. 4:29 (NIV)
If you are interested in a private discussion please send a private message, otherwise please leave comments either on Facebook or on the blog for public communication.
May God bless you and be sure to pray for heavenly guidance.
1 Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. (2019). Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data, Demographics and Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].