“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.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Matthew 5, 6, and 7 are considered together as one Sermon of Jesus, called “The Sermon on the Mount.” It is called this because of 5:1, in which Christ “…went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.”
It is very important to note that Christ addressed His sermon to “his disciples.” Therefore, some have labeled Christ’s instructions as “The Characteristics of the Kingdom Man.” (See 6:33.) Regardless of man’s label, 5:1 states to whom Christ addressed His teachings; and it was to His followers, His “disciples,” and not to the unsaved at all.
The child of God needs to examine which of these paths he is following. The text presents two ways; and the results of each, and the number that go therein are vastly different. The broad way leads to destruction, and “many there be which go in thereat” (verse 13). Narrow is the way which leads to life, and “few there be that find it” (verse 14).
The fact is that each child of God is already on one of these paths. The thing to do now is to identify which one you, as a saved man, are on; and to be sure you know the results of your path. Also, you need to decide, “Is this the one I want to be on?”
The first path Christ mentions (verse 13 b-c) is the “broad” way. The reason that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way,” is because of the nature of the way and the great number that walk on this path. The nature of the broad way is the way of the flesh; which is the way of the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; which are the desires of the flesh (1 John 2:15-17; Ephesians 2:2-3).
The question arises, is it possible for a person who knows God to follow the flesh? The answer is yes. Examples are the Children of Israel in the Wilderness; and more specifically, King Saul. (Read the history of these two examples.) Eventually, all of Israel fell in the wilderness, except the children 19 years and younger and Caleb and Joshua; because of their unbelief (or disobedience). (See Numbers 13, 14, 16; Hebrews 3:6-18; 4:1-11.) Israel had revelation, but not regeneration. They had the Ten Commandments of God, the Tabernacle, the Priesthood and sacrifices, and the pattern of how to approach God. God even dwelt in the Holy of holies in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. Yet the children of Israel followed the flesh; they were rebellious, and walked in fear and doubt, which is walking by sight and not by faith.
Also in the New Testament, the Apostles were constantly exhorting the “saved” people to come out from among the world and be separate. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 9:24-27; Romans 12:1-2; etc.) The Apostle Paul reminded the church at Rome of the same matter. (Please read Romans 6, 7, and 8.) The Apostle taught that the difference was the New Birth. Until the New Birth (or regeneration) happens, the individual who knows God by revelation is still ruled by the law of sin and death. Paul shows this in Romans 7:15-24, with the answer being in Romans 7:25 and 8:1-16; or being “in Christ.” This is being made free by the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2); being indwelt by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:11-16).
Until this happens, until the Birth from above happens experientially in the person (John 3:3-8); he cannot see the Inheritance and the value of the Inheritance. Just as the Israelites in the wilderness said, “…we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33). They refused to go over to the Promised Land, and turned back. They finally fell in the wilderness and suffered a temporal destruction.
Many times, we feel more comfortable to stand where the many are. But the many are there because they are following the flesh. This walk of the flesh for the saved man is a walk of fear, doubt, unbelief, and defeat in this life. It is a life of self-centeredness, of pride and of lusts. It is a life of trying to please self, more than God. It is a life of trying to reach the goals and standards of “this world,” instead of pressing for the high calling of God in Christ.
The second path is described in verse 14, the “narrow” way. The narrow way is the way of the Spirit of God. It is completely opposite of the flesh way. The narrow way is described as such, because it is God’s way, and because “few” find it. There are “few” that not only have revelation, but also regeneration. That is, being born from above; given a new nature, the new man, the new creation; given not a spirit of fear and of bondage, but the spirit of love, power, and a sound mind; given an understanding that now they are sons of God. (Read John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:2, 14-16; Galatians 4:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:13.)
Those on the narrow way have submitted to the Word of God and are walking by Faith (or by Christ, who is the Faith living in the regenerated man; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 2:4-6). Therefore, love is being perfected in the regenerated man. He loves God above his flesh; he desires to be holy and pure, and to be totally conformed to Christ daily. (See Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34; 1 John 3 – 4; and many, many more Scriptures.)
The narrow way “leadeth unto life.” That is to Christ, who is Eternal Life (John 17:1-5; 1 John 5:20); meaning it leadeth to Victory as an Overcomer in the daily life (1 John 5:4). It leadeth to the ways of Christ, who is Life Himself. Therefore, it leadeth to the blessings and benefits of Christ, as a member of His Body, the Church, His Wife.
Reader, the difference in the two paths is the New Birth (or having the Gift of the Spirit, even the Holy Spirit Himself, dwelling in your spirit). You must have the Holy Spirit abiding in you to have the power to be an overcomer in this life.
The Church realized this in Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8, 15; 2:1-47, before the Day of Pentecost and on the Day of Pentecost. This is when they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and were endued with the Power of God.
Reader, it is not difficult to examine and come to a conclusion as to which path you are on. Are you on the broad path, as all are until the New Birth? Even as Peter was; he had revelation (Matthew 16:13-16) and he followed Christ for three and a half years. And yet Jesus said he was not converted as of yet (Luke 22:31-32); but he would be later, on the Day of Pentecost.
Many church-goers, and even preachers, and people who are in the ministry, find they have revelation; and they feel they are safe with revelation. But, they know deep down, in the closet of their spirit, they have “…a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5).