“The narrow path” and “the small gate”
For years we have preached of “the narrow path” and “the small gate” and that “few will find it” from the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:12-14 and Luke 13:23-40. However, this is not the message of the Gospel!
If we read a little closer, we will see that the “SMALL GATE” and the “NARROW PATH” describes the Law’s way to salvation. It is also called SALVATION BY WORKS. This way was not only difficult but actually completely impossible. The way of the Law was actually narrow and salvation by works was such a small gate that few were able to get through. There were so few that there were actually NONE!
Some preachers make the Christian walk difficult yet Jesus has said it’s easy! Jesus said: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt.11:30) The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not hide the fact that Jesus’ ministry, while on earth before the cross, centered mainly on Jews. The Jews, who were few and the minority as compared to the gentiles, had a way of salvation, by keeping the Law, which without doubt excluded all gentiles(Ephesians 2:11-13).
Jesus, on his first coming, had to first of all acknowledge the Law by pointing it to the Jews as a way of salvation. He then raised the standard for them to prove that it was not only difficult but inaccessible! In fact when someone asked Him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”, Jesus urged the Jews to strive to enter the narrow door. He cautioned them that many of them will seek to enter but will not be able. – Luke 13:23-24.
Salvation by works was and is completely impossible. The way of the Law was crooked and impassable. It was a small gate and narrow path, full of statutes and laws containing both great and minor details. Not one detail could be forgotten! Therefore, Jesus had to open a NEW AND LIVING WAY when He died on the cross! By the blood of Jesus we have received a completely new way to enter into the presence of God. (Heb.10:19-20).
Jesus came to straighten out the crooked paths that were so difficult to walk on. Luke 3:5-6 says: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.”
Under the Law “no flesh could be justified,” while now, “all flesh will see the Lord’s salvation."