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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Two Gates and Two Roads (Matt. 7:13-14)

Jesus describes two groups of people and they are distinguished by the path on which they walk. Each path has an entry point which defines the nature of the path. It has been suggested, perhaps with some degree of probability, that Jesus was using an illustration that his hearers could see. They were seated on a small hillside. Down below was the main road (the broad way). A small path led from the road up the hill on which they were standing, and this path depicts the narrow way. Perhaps there was a set of gates at the junction of the path and the road, with a wide gate for the crowds making their way along the broad road and a narrow gate for the few who left it and climbed the hill.

It is obvious that the wide gate and the broad road depict the lifestyle of those who are not the disciples of Jesus. The people walking along this road have been on it since birth. This road is spacious and accommodating, with every kind of sinner walking on it. The self-righteous and the openly sinful find space on this road. Sadly, there is a sad end. This road takes its travellers to destruction, and by this term Jesus means hell.

In contrast, the narrow way is very different. First of all, it has a narrow entrance or gate. This is a picture of the conversion of a sinner. The illustration used by Jesus depicts a person trying to get through the narrow gate with too much baggage. Jesus is telling his disciples that a sinner has to leave features of life on the broad road behind him when he decides to move through the narrow gate. These features are sinful attitudes and practices that marked life on the broad road. They include all expressions of self-righteousness and all expressions of wrong attitudes and deeds.

Jesus also describes the walk along the narrow path. He says that it is as impossible to make progress on the narrow carrying such baggage as it is to get through the gate with the baggage. Of course, we have to remind ourselves that we are capable of developing wrong attitudes and practices on the narrow path that we may not have committed when we were on the broad road. It is a solemn reality that professing Christians have said or done things that they would not have done before they were converted.


The prize for walking the narrow way is life, eternal life. When we enter the gate of heaven, it will not seem then to have been a great price to pay when we left some attitudes and practices behind at the narrow gate. We should always remember that there are two gates in the Christian life. There is the narrow gate at which we begin, and the heavenly gate at which we end. Thinking about the second will enable us to forget any sacrifices we made at the first, and thinking about the second will keep us from picking up any useless baggage on the journey.

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