The Two Roads: Wide Leading To Destruction and Narrow Leading To Life
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that 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.” (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)
Many believe that the WIDE meaning is “WORKS” of a person. And that NARROW must be GOOD WORKS because it is hard to maintain good works in the light that God is PERFECT in every way. But is that the truth of Matthew 7:13-14?
Context matters and so if we look at other passages of Jesus, do see that meaning conveyed for how to become RIGHTEOUS before God? The answer is a resounding “NO”.
Jesus is clear that Salvation is by one thing and that is ‘changing our mind (the Bible definition of the word REPENT) and BELIEF ON Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. Look at John 3 where Jesus told Nicodemus how a person becomes RIGHTEOUS. It is by being ‘BORN AGAIN’ – not by our works. Jesus goes on to tell us how to be born again in The Spirit in verse 14-17 and it is all about BELIEF ON CHRIST with NOTHING ELSE MENTIONED. And then Jesus makes this very clear statement,
“He that BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned ALREADY, because he hath NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18 KJV)
And when we look more into Jesus other words we also see Him say,
“28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.
29 Take MY YOKE upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST unto your souls. 30 For my YOKE IS EASY, and my burden IS LIGHT.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
A LIGHT YOKE? A LIGHT BURDEN? If we are to believe that it is our WORKS that save us and keep us saved, how does that fit Jesus’ words?
Given this is Jesus words as well, we need to look closer at Matthew 7:13-14 for proper context, because Jesus NEVER contradicts Himself and in fact, Apostle Paul does not either.
And Apostle Paul states clearly that this cannot be about works when he wrote,
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9 KJV)
So what is Jesus really meaning in Matthew 7:13-14?
If you look at virtually every world religion, even much of the ‘Christian’ world religion churches, you will see a strong emphasis on WORKS to be saved or remain saved. Yet, Jesus never taught this about Salvation or justification with God. Nor is it how a person becomes righteous. Righteousness comes only by FAITH – NOT WORKS.
““And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:9 KJV)
“Now to the one who WORKS, his wage is NOT RECKONED on the basis of GRACE, but as what is DUE. But to the one who DOES NOT WORK, but BELIEVES in Him (Jesus) WHO JUSTIFIES the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Romans 4:4-5 KJV)
“Knowing that a man is NOT JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW, but BY THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have BELIEVED in Jesus Christ, that we might BE JUSTIFIED by the FAITH OF CHRIST, and NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW: FOR BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED.” (Galatians 2)
Going back to Matthew 7, we also see that Jesus continues on and warns of about FALSE PROPHETS (verse 15) and what are they teaching? Jesus says,
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
They are teaching that Salvation is because of and by their works. And Jesus gives a stern warning AGAINST THIS IDEA! In verse 23 Jesus says that on judgement day (the judgement of UNBELIEVERS – not believers) they will hear Jesus say that HE NEVER KNEW THEM. They thought they were saved by works – but they were not. Why? Because Salvation is not by works but by Faith and belief in Jesus as the once for all sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10) for the sin of the whole world (1 John 2:2). It is belief on JESUS’ FINISHED work on the cross that saves as God in the flesh.
The WIDE WAY is works. Not the narrow way. The narrow way is belief that Jesus is THE FORETOLD CHRIST, the Messiah. And this is belief alone by faith on HIS finished work.
Apostle Paul also warned sternly against adding our good works as a requirement of our Salvation and justification in Galatians, calling them ‘foolish’ for believing false teachers adding our good works to remain to be saved,
“Christ is become of NO EFFECT UNTO YOU whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4 KJV)
NO effect? That is NOT where any believer o Christ wants to be right?
Does that mean a believer’s good works after Salvation do not matter? NO. Good works are…well.. GOOD! But the point is, they are not what saves us nor keeps us saved.
BELIEF ON JESUS , THE CHRIST, ALONE, and HIS FINISHED WORK PAYING FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD… IS THE NARROW WAY.