Study to Grow
By Randy Dillon
Matthew 7:13¶“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.15¶“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.21¶“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
There is a persistent thought among many modern evangelical Christians that we are capable, in our devotion to Christ, of bringing the greater part of the world to Christ. However, God’s dealings with His people in both the Old Testament and the New Testament should give us pause to consider if such is really the plan of God. Consider that in the history of the Jewish people it was always a remnant of the people or individuals that God preserved as His own. Abraham was called from a foreign land and separated from his people. Isaac was called to a foreign land before returning home. Jacob was made a remnant before returning to the land promised to his fore father. Later, a remnant was called from Egypt, but, failing to trust Jehovah, only a remnant entered the promised land. A remnant of Judges kept Israel in existence for hundreds of years until the kingdom. A remnant followed David until the kingdom was thrust from Saul’s hand. After Solomon, in the divided kingdom, only two of the twelve tribes remained marginally devoted to the law of Moses. Even in captivity, God protected a remnant of His people as He prophesied, bringing them back to Jerusalem, also as He promised. Many other examples leap from the pages of the Old Testament.
Now consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14. 13: “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:” 14: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
This thought is repeated in Luke 13: 24 with an expansion of the thought by Jesus in verses 25-30. Christians, true Christians, not nominal Christians (those in name only) are and always have been a remnant of humanity. It is perhaps comforting to think that there are “many” chosen by the Father to enter Heaven. But it is not so. It is likewise troubling to think that there are multitudes who will not enter. But scripture shows that such is the case. However discomforting this may be, it also indicates to the true Christian why our life should follow the “strait” gate and “narrow” way to Heaven. And it further demonstrates why we should be witnesses of the highest caliber for Jesus. The strait and narrow way is not an easy one. Quite the contrary. “Narrow” carries the meaning of “difficult.” Few will find it and live it because it is indeed difficult. No one will live it perfectly for all humanity is trapped in a body seeking its own pleasure and a world which rejects the Son.
Jesus continues in Matthew 7:15-20 to state that those following the “broad” way can be recognized by a simple indicator: their corrupt fruits. On the other hand, verse 21 succinctly states that those following the “narrow” way will likewise be known by whether they “doeth the will of my Father.” So it is that true born-again Christians always have been, now are, and always will be a minority, a remnant, of humanity. All the more reason to live our lives as a testimony to God and the great sacrifice made by our Savior and Lord on the cross.