Strait Is The Gate And Narrow Is The Way
By David J. Stewart
October 2015 | January 2019
Matthew 7:13-14, “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 strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
I have heard numerous false teachers butcher the Holy Scriptures in Matthew 7:14, teaching that the reason why people miss the strait gate and the narrow way is because they refuse to walk a narrow path of holy living to be saved.
Case in point is heretic Calvinist, Evangelist Paul Washer. ...
Paul Washer foolishly states at 2:00 in this video:
“The evidence that someone is saved is that they continue walking in the narrow way.”
SOURCE: Paul Washer Sermonette
Folks, that is a false plan of salvation, which adds holy living to the Gospel. The evidence that someone is saved is that they profess faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, period. If the new birth in Christ is conditioned upon choosing to live a perpetual holy life, then salvation becomes a reward instead of a free gift. This is not “the simplicity that is in Christ” taught in the King James Bible. ...
2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Again, in another sermon Paul Washer errantly teaches...
“But if you profess to have gone through the narrow gate, and yet you live in the broad way ... just like all the other people who are carnal and wicked ... the Bible wants you to know that you should be terribly, terribly afraid — you know not God.”
SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuabITeO4l8 (time: 24:37 in video)
This is a false plan of salvation that is rooted in human effort (works). Mr. Washer says that professed believers who choose to live in deliberate sin should be “terribly afraid,” because they have not repented and are not saved. This is a false understanding of what it means to “repent,” and a false plan of salvation. Living a holy life is a matter of discipleship and consecration to serve God, and has nothing to do with receiving the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ.
Another case in point is Ray Comfort, another false prophet regarding the plan of salvation! On page 1197 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, Evangelist Ray Comfort comments on Matthew 7:22-23...
“These are perhaps the most frightening verses in the Bible. Vast multitudes of professing Christians fit into the category spoken of here. They call Jesus 'Lord,' but they practice lawlessness. They profess faith in Jesus, but have no regard for the divine law. They tell 'fibs' or 'white' lies, take things that belong to others, have a roaming eye for the opposite sex, etc. They are liars, thieves, and adulterers at heart, who will be cast from the gates of heaven into the jaws of hell.”
SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1197; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida
Ladies and gentleman, Ray Comfort is teaching works salvation! According to what we just read by Ray Comfort, every believer who willingly allows sin in their life won't be allowed into Heaven. Mr. Comfort is teaching that you cannot get to Heaven unless you make an effort to stop intentionally sinning. This is a works-based mindset and a false Gospel.
The strait gate and the narrow way is THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST, that is, believing the Gospel.
I recently heard a sermon, I think it was by Evangelist Phil Kidd, where he commented about how small a town was. He said the town was so small that if you hiccupped, you'd miss it. That is what Matthew 7:14 is saying, that is, the plan of salvation is so simple that if you're not carefully, you may pass right over it and instead adopt some works-based false plan of salvation.
It is inherent to man's sinful nature to errantly think we can impress God with our own self-righteousness. Cain was guilty of this sin. Cain brought the best grain that his farming skills could produce, and he was certain that the Lord would be impressed. Unfortunately for Cain, God rejected his sacrifice. But God did accept Abel's blood sacrifice, from a slain lamb, which demonstrated his faith in the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Abel was justified by faith; but Cain was not justified by works.
By Their “Fruits” (Doctrine) Ye Shall Know ThemThe Holy Scriptures are filled with sinful believers who lived ungodly lives. Consider Samson, who spent his life chasing women, a fornicator! Yet, he was still God's man. Samson was a crooked stick. I am not approving of his sinful life, God forbid. But I am saying that even God's best and brightest saints are still woeful sinners. Like it or not, Samson deliberately committed sin his entire life! Judges 16:1, “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” “That is terrible,” you say! Yes, it is, but if the truth be told, we all sin every day whether in deed or thought. 1st Samuel 12:23 teaches that it is even a sin when we fail to pray for others in our life. Have you prayed for all your loved ones and friends? If the truth be told, the only thing keeping the ground beneath us from opening and swallowing all of humanity into the depths of an eternal burning Hell, is God's wondrous grace!!!
When Jesus raised up from the dead, He found the apostle Peter walking around butt naked in public (John 21:7). Peter had quit the ministry and gone back to fishing. Have you ever become discouraged and quit on God? This is the same carnal Christian whom God later used to lead 3,000 souls to Christ at Pentecost (Acts 2:41). God only has sinners to use to serve Him! We are all horrible sinners!!! There are no good sinners! There are no lesser sinners when it comes to salvation. You are either saved or you're not! The Satanic idea that if you are really saved, you won't be a big sinner, just a small sinner, is of the Devil. Who are you, or me, or anyone else, to draw a line at which point a person cannot be saved because they are TOO SINFUL? Paul Washer says if you are not walking a narrow path of holy behavior, you are not saved. So how “holy” does a person have to be to be saved? Mr. Washer is a confused man, corrupted of Satan!
Beware of anyone who associates the free gift of God, which is eternal life, with one's manner of lifestyle. Some of the most loving and sweetest people in the world (such as Mother Teresa of the Roman Catholic religious cult) are now burning forever in the fires of Hell! But we read about a dirty thief next to Jesus on the cross, who is now enjoying the splendors of eternal life in Heaven (Luke 23:43). Jesus warned the self-righteous religious Pharisees that the thieving publicans (hated tax collectors) and adulterous prostitutes would go to Heaven, but not them! Wow! Matthew 21:31b, “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” I tell you truly, there will be repentant murderers and pedophiles in Heaven, while the Catholic Pope burns in Hell! Looks can be very deceiving!!! You don't know who is saved or not by inspecting their personal life. Only by a direct testimony from a person's own mouth can we absolutely know if they are saved or lost. The Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation (1st Corinthians 15:1-6)! Are you saved my dear reader?
The truth is that no one can look at another person and determine if they are saved or not merely by their outward appearance. This is exactly why Jesus warned us about wolves that would come to us in “sheep's clothing” to deceive us. They have the proper clothing, appearing like saints of God outwardly, but we CANNOT discern whether or not they are of God or the Devil merely by looking at their appearance. This is a basic Bible truth, as taught by the Lord Himself in Matthew 7:14-20. This is why Jesus said we can only know them by their “fruits,” that is, their doctrine. Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” We cannot discern them by their appearance nor behavior, which can be deceptive. Doctrine cannot be deceptive, because you are either of the truth or a liar!
What is the Gospel?Religion wants to fit us with glasses, but the Lord wants to open our eyes! Thank God for the truth of His precious Word, which is a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105). America's churches influence the world, so if Satan can corrupt our churches here at home, then he can corrupt the world, because the United States sends out more missionaries than any other nation.
Sadly, there is MUCH heresy and false teachings circulating on the radio, television and in our churches nowadays concerning what a person must do to be saved. What exactly is the Gospel?
The word “Gospel” itself means “Good News.” There is no need to guess what “the Gospel” (or Good News) is, because the Bible plainly tells us:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
There you have it! Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED, and He bodily RESURRECTED from the dead 72 hours later. That is “the Gospel,” which the Word of God calls, “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3). If you admit that you are a guilty sinner in God's sight, and accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for your sins, believing that He raised up from the dead three days later, you are saved. That's easy and simple! We are saved by BELIEVING! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
The Holy Bible proclaims that we are all sinners, but Jesus Christ paid our sin debt on the cross, and through faith in Him we are saved. Romans 3:23-24, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ loved us so much that He was willing to die for us. Christ died for us without the guarantee that we would ever believe in Him. Jesus died to give us a chance.
A wonderful writing on the subject by Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951) is titled, “WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?”
You Can Be 100% Sincere, But 100% Wrong
The Old Testament Jews had gone into apostasy. Whereas the law of God was given to show men their sinfulness and point them to Christ for salvation (Romans 3:19; Galatians 3:24-26), the Jews worshipped the law as a religion unto itself. Israel had good intentions, pursuing righteousness, but they sought it by works and not faith, which God rejected. Romans 9:31-32, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone.” Whereas Christ was meant to be the chief cornerstone of the foundation, the Lord actually became a stumbling block to the Jews because of their unbelief.
The apostle Paul indicts Israel in Romans 10:1-4, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
It's been rightly said that there are two types of religions in the world: DO and DONE. Whereas most religions teach that a person must DO this, and DO that, to get to Heaven; Biblical Christianity teaches that it's all DONE, because Jesus paid it all through His precious shed blood at Calvary. As Romans 10:3-4 teaches, going about to establish one's own righteousness is a false plan of salvation. To be born-again, we must submit to God's righteousness, which is through faith alone in Jesus Christ our Savior. This is the strait gate and the narrow way.
The simplicity that is in Christ is simply acknowledging one's guilt of sin in God's holy eyes, and believing the Gospel to be saved. That's it, nothing more! The Gospel is so delicate that it is very easily damaged and corrupted. Whether it be adding circumcision to the plan of salvation as in Acts 15:1, or resting in the law as in Romans 2:17, or trusting in “many wonderful works” as in Matthew 7:22, none of these are the Gospel, and they complicate the simplicity that is in Christ. Any plan of salvation that deviates from the simple Gospel, cannot produce the new birth by the Holy Spirit of God. Salvation is not a philosophy. Salvation is not a lifestyle, nor is it a culture, nor is it an organization, nor a business. Salvation is a supernatural miracle of God in response to a person's childlike faith in Christ's death on the cross for their sins, His burial, and resurrection the third day from the dead.
A sincere but misguided woman once wrote to me and asked where in the Bible does it say that we have to “receive” Jesus to be saved? The answer is found in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Savior of “ALL MEN,” but you must receive Him as your personal Savior to be saved. 1st Timothy 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” The choice is yours alone to make.
I thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who paid my debt of sin so that I could be freed from the curse of sin and the second death. Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
The Simplicity That Is In Christ
I love that little phrase in 2nd Corinthians 11:3... “THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST”!!! If you're not very careful friend, you'll pass right by the gift of God and not even know it. The Jewish religious teachers were sincere, but sincerely wrong, and blinded to their own destruction. They were teaching salvation by keeping the works of the law. Romans 2:17-20, “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Wow! These misguided Jewish teachers were confident in their false religion. They sincerely considered themselves as guides to the blind, a light to them that were in darkness; yet, they were blind and walking in darkness themselves. The apostle Paul said they considered themselves as instructors to the foolish, and teachers of ignorant babies, sincerely believing that they had truth and knowledge; but in reality, they were unsaved reprobates, deceived by Satan, and in their zeal were still hellbound for eternal damnation. Let me ask you friend, have you been deceived?
I frequently listen to religious radio stations, to see what people are being taught, so I can refute it from the Bible if its not true. There's a local Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) radio station. I often hear them speaking about how the Devil blinds and deceives people from the truth. That is disturbing, because SDA's are terribly deceived themselves by Satan. They are the blind leading the blind. Oh, how confused many people are because of all the Devil's deceptions. 1st John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Any professional athlete will tell you that the best defense is a good offense. Likewise, the best way to expose the darkness is to shine the light.
The best way to discern false religions, false prophets, false Christs and false teachings (doctrines) is by having a sound understanding of the Holy Scriptures. In John 5:39 Jesus said to “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES”! Amen! 1st Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” We read in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Every Christian believer ought to know why they believe what they believe.
A good thing to do is memorize at least one Scripture for each doctrine that you believe. Every truly born-again Christian believes that Jesus is almighty God, but can you show someone from the Bible where that truth is taught? It is found in John 1:1-3,14; John 10:33; 1st Timothy 3:16; John 8:58/Exodus 3:14; Revelation 1:8; Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 2:9, to list just a few). If you don't know what and why you believe what you believe, then you'll be susceptible to the deceptions of the Devil. You may one day end up joining a satanic religious cult, and you may not even be saved and not realize it. That is exactly what the apostle Paul is trying to tell them in Romans 2:17-20. I challenge you to study and get to know your King James Bible. You don't have to become a theologian, but you should at least know why you believe what you believe, not just because your pastor says it. He might be wrong.
I love the Biblical account of the Jews at Berea, unto whom Paul and Silas came to by night and preached unto them. The Bible says they were were noble than the unbelieving Jews at Thessalonica, receiving the Word of God preached unto them. Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Ah, there it is again, they “SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY”!!!
The way of salvation is not hard, it is easy. False prophet, Dr. John MacArthur of Grace To You errantly teaches. ...
“Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing.”
SOURCE: Dr. John MacArthur, Grace To You, an updated quote from his book 'Hard To Believe', page 93
Blasphemy! Salvation doesn't cost the sinner anything! When Christ saved me at age 13 by faith, it didn't cost me anything. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10), because Jesus paid for it with His own broken body and precious blood (1st Peter 1:18-19). Jesus died on the cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God for our sins (John 1:29), and He bodily resurrected from the dead three days later as our heavenly High Priest (Hebrews 4:15-16; Romans 8:34). Mr. MacArthur has been deceived by Satan, having missed the strait gate and the narrow way, and is on the broad highway to hell and destruction. I say that kindly, and with a brokenheart.
Dr. MacArthur views salvation and discipleship as being one in the same, inseparable; but the Holy Bible plainly teaches in Romans 12:1-2 that presenting one's body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service,” is a separate decision from receiving the free gift of eternal life. The fact that Paul is pleading with the believers at Rome to become Christ's disciples evidences this truth.
Dr. Martin R. DeHaan (1891-1965) eloquently states, and this is very true:
“There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness.”
SOURCE: DeHaan, M.R., Hebrews, Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117)
The plan of salvation is not complicated, it is simple. Men make things complicated. Getting saved is easy, free and simple, so simple that even a child can be born-again. It is solely a matter of trusting the Savior. If a small child understands that they have sinned by breaking the commandments of a holy God in Heaven, and believe that Christ (the only begotten Son of God) paid for their sins by dying on the cross and raising up from the dead three days later, they are saved. 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The Way Unto Eternal Life Is Narrow, And The Gate Is Strait
The gate to eternal life is strait, and the way is narrow, because it is so simple that men often pass right over it, unaware that they have done so. Thus, they spend the rest of their life looking for God in all the wrong places. 2nd Timothy 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Salvation is only found in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12). There is no hope outside of Jesus Christ (1st Thessalonians 4:13).
I remember oftentimes in my life while driving, looking for an address, that I passed right by it. Sometimes I had even gone way past my destination, unaware that I had missed the address. While visiting in Hawaii years ago, looking for a restaurant that someone had told me about, I drove back-n-forth about 7 times, each time missing the place, because I didn't really know what I was looking for, and had never been there. Finally, I found it. This is what the Bible is teaching in Matthew 7:14. The Gospel is very simple, requiring only childlike faith to be saved.
The Bible warns in 2nd Corinthians 4:4 that Satan blinds men's minds from the light of the Gospel, to hinder them from finding the strait gate and the narrow way which leadeth unto life. The world is blinded with false religion, the lies of evolution, false science, false Bible versions, false Christs, false prophets, worldly philosophies and manmade traditions. It would be very easy to miss the truth of the imputed righteousness of God as taught in the Scriptures. My friend, you need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS to get to Heaven, because neither you nor I have any self-righteousness to offer God (Isaiah 64:6). We need God's righteousness. Philippians 3:9-10, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Whew, that's great stuff!!! I can't make it any plainer.
I have shown you the strait gate and the narrow way, but you have to BELIEVE the Gospel on your own to be born-again. I love you in the Lord whoever you may be, and I hope and pray to see you in Heaven one day. Thank you for reading this.
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” —Psalms 118:6
Psalms 56:9, “...this I know; for God is for me.”
love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)
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