The Lord's Parable Series:
ENTER THE NARROW GATE
22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
Many churches understood the narrow gate as the RESTRICTIVE COMMANDMENTS of Christ that make it harder for one to enter the kingdom of heaven. This understanding IS NOT TRUE AND IN FACT, CONFLICTS with the teaching of Christ concerning His yoke that is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). It also contradicts with His assurance on how He sent His followers to reap or receive salvation for which they have not labored (John 4:36-38); and that all one has to do is do the work of God to believe in Him (John 6:28-29 / 3:14-18), abide in His love (John 15:9-10) and remain in His Word as His disciples (John 8:31).
Which is the NARROW GATE through which one must strive to enter to receive salvation? As we all know, Christ is the WAY (and truth, and life) or DOOR wherein anyone needs to enter for salvation (John 14:6 / 10:7, 9). The way or door is the same as gate, but why narrow gate? What does this parable reflect? It does not show a RESTRICTIVE GATE but rather, it shows the limited timing or limited opportunity in entering the gate, way or door. Why is timing relevant in entering the gate? Because the opportunity to enter is not always available. How is that so? Well, there is a time when the Master of the house rises and shuts the door, and then no amount of pleading can convince Him to reopen the door for them who were latecomers. This shutting of the door by the Master will happen on judgment day, or even when one dies - either way, his opportunity is already gone - if he has not yet done so.
If the phrase ‘narrow gate’ means limited timing or limited opportunity to enter the gate, door or way, what is Christ’s related advice so that one WILL NOT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY?
“33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
This is how The Christ wants us to prioritize our efforts to enter the gate or to follow Him through abiding in His words. He wants us to SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness - not second, not later but FIRST, NOW AND ALWAYS! How can we seek God's Kingdom and righteousness? By abiding in the Word of The Lord Yeshua-Christos, and thus becoming His disciples who are freed by the Truth. By doing so, we will have no fear whenever the Master of the house shuts the door as we have already entered the gate, door or way.