13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matt 7:13-14 (NIV)

Simply put, Jesus is the Gate to righteousness and Jesus is the Way of righteousness. He is the Entrance, the Doorway, through which we may enter into God’s provision for us as well as the only Way which exists for our access to God the Father. Our Lord states these Truths in John:

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:7-9 (NIV)

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Salvation is not obtainable in a myriad of ways - contrary to what many love to believe. There is no other name by which we must be saved but Jesus. In preaching to the rulers, elders and teachers of the law, Peter clearly states:

12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)

“Our nature struggles fiercely against being saved without our works and tries to deceive us with a grand illusion of our own righteousness. So we may find ourselves attracted to a life that merely appears to be righteous. Or because we know we aren’t righteous, we may be frightened by death or sin. Therefore, we must learn that we should have nothing to do with any other way of becoming righteous, except through Christ alone.” Martin Luther

In our verses for today, not too dissimilar to Moses’, Joshua’s and Elijah’s pleas to the people of Israel, Jesus sets before us two different choices – if you will, curtain A or curtain B – clearly, the path of destruction or the path of life. There was no middle way then, there is no middle way now and there will be no middle way in the future. God has a funny way of never changing. Jesus did not come saying He wanted just a part of us rather all – a house divided cannot stand.

23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

The Pharisees of our Lord’s day – and any other subsequent works based, spiritual pride based religion – would never and will never measure up. Scripture tells us all our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. Believers do not work to be saved rather we work because we are saved. We do not have a “right” to grace – making us stinking spoiled, soft, and prideful rather we have been given the privilege of grace – making us appreciative, humbled and desirous to serve. Grace is not something we deserve rather it is a gift – God’s wholly unmerited favor. The narrow Way will always lead us away from ourselves and straight to Jesus – everything in the Gospel is about our Lord.

“What ultimately keeps our motives biblically prioritized and holy before God is the profound conviction that obeying God will merit us nothing. This is why Jesus tells us that, when we have done all that we should do, we are still unprofitable servants. Jesus does not nullify the value of duty in order to dissuade us from serving God, but to keep is from depending on duty to gain God’s acceptance. When we understand that our works in themselves earn us no merit with God, then the only reason to do those works is love for Him. Thus we learn to serve God not for personal gain but for His glory-not for love of self but for love of the Savior.” Bryan Chapell

We are not to build our hopes of righteousness upon our works as God will never own works done in the flesh apart from His leading and power. Rather our hopes are built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians our sure foundation is Jesus and what we are to build upon this Rock are works done through His achieving power and strength - what is done in the flesh, Paul states, will never make it through the fire:

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Cor 3:10-15 (NIV)

“We do the works, but God works in us the doing of the works.” Augustine

“Faith is the root of works. A root that produces nothing is dead.” Thomas Wilson

What I Glean

  • Jesus is the Gate to righteousness and Jesus is the Way of righteousness.
  • Jesus wants all of me not part. If my loyalties are divided, I will fall. I cannot serve two masters.
  • I serve Jesus out of love not duty.