The Book of Matthew

Tuesday: The Narrow Way

Matthew 7:13-14 In this week’s lessons, we see that it is everyone’s need to come to Christ for salvation, and that to live along the broad path only leads to destruction.
The Narrow Way

Now if all this is true—that is, if these verses (Matt. 7:13-27) are primarily a warning to those of Christ’s time to keep on until His death and resurrection brought His ministry to completion—then it is also clear how we must understand the first of these four warnings.

Jesus said, “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 straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). What does this mean? In this context the verses can only mean that there is a broad way of life leading to a broad gate, which in turn leads to destruction, upon which all men naturally are travelling. And there is a narrow way leading to a narrow gate, which is Jesus Christ and which leads to eternal life, upon which some of His hearers may be about to be travelling. Therefore, Jesus is saying, “Keep on the narrow way until you pass through Me to salvation.”

We must understand this clearly if we are to avoid the most common and most dangerous misinterpretation of these verses. If we are to assume that Christ’s hearers are Christians at this point (which, of course, they could not be but which many persons have easily assumed), then this verse is really a warning to keep on working at the Christian life in order that one does not lose his salvation eventually. Unfortunately, some Bible teachers have taught that from this text, which contradicts the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer that is everywhere apparent in Scripture.

The warning does not mean that. On the contrary, it means that if you are an unbeliever who has been exposed to the Gospel, you must not stop short of salvation by imagining that you can simply continue along the same path you are following. If you are not on the way to Christ, you are on the way that takes you from Him. You will either come finally to a perfect salvation in the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ or to the lake of fire without Him. That is the heart of Christ’s warning.

Study Questions
  1. How has Matthew 7:13-14 been misunderstood?
  2. What is the correct way to interpret our passage?

Key Point: You will either come finally to a perfect salvation in the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ or to the lake of fire without Him. That is the heart of Christ’s warning.

For Further Study: To learn more about this narrow way, download for free and listen to Philip Ryken’s message, “One Narrow Door.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

For Further Study: The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering an excellent study on the exclusive truth of Christianity. Order your copy of Only One Way, and save over 25% off the regular price.

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