The Narrow Way and the Broad Way

The Narrow Way

and the Broad Way

Matthew 7:13-14

  • “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Christ’s words on this occasion must be considered radical indeed! He says that “many” enter the wide gate and walk the wide way that leads to destruction. On the other hand, “few” are willing to enter the small or narrow gate and walk the narrow way that leads to life. In context, the narrow way is one that is characterized by gentleness, mercy, purity of heart, and peacemaking (Matt. 5:5-9). It is a way that turns from anger, lust, adultery, retaliation, and hatred, while emphasizing truth, kindness, generosity, and love (5:21-48). It involves a righteousness of the heart rather than a righteousness of merely outward, hypocritical actions (5:20; 6:1-18). It is a way of trust in God that turns from a life of materialism (6:19-34). It is a way of prayer and of doing good to others (7:7-12). The narrow road that few are willing to walk is a way that differs radically from the broad way of sin—hypocrisy, dishonesty, hatred, impurity, and love of the world.

We can understand why only a few are willing to live the way of life that Christ taught. It is a way that calls for repentance, renunciation and forsaking of sin to even enter the “small” gate! Just as few were willing to come to Christ on His terms while He walked the earth, so few are willing to submit themselves to Him in our own day. The many—the majority—are content to walk according to the ways of the world, even if those ways happen to include religion and outward forms. It is an easy path that does not provoke the world’s wrath and allows for good family relations. It is a popular path for it makes few demands on the heart and allows for some degree of sin in life. But Jesus warns us beforehand that the popular way, the worldly way, the merely religious way is, in fact, the broad way that leads inevitably to destruction! Are we willing to humble ourselves to enter the way of life that radically follows the Lord Jesus Christ even if the number with us is “few“?

Richard Hollerman

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