September 16, 2014

The Narrow Gate

I recently finished John MacArthur's book 'Hard to Believe.' It was sobering at the least and not a lite read. The chapter on the narrow gate really stuck out for me, so I thought I'd share a few of John MacArthur's thoughts on what Jesus says about it.

Jesus said:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matt. 7:13-14

 And in Luke one asked Him:

 "Then one said to Him, 'Lord, are there few who are saved?' And He said to them,

'Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Luke 13:24-25

John MacArthur says of the narrow gate:

"It is not enough to listen to preaching about the gate; it is not enough to respect the ethics;

you've got to walk through the gate. 

And you can't come unless you abandon your self-righteousness, see yourself as a beggar in spirit, mourning over sin, meek before a holy God, not proud and boastful, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and not believing you have it. Hell will be full of people who thought highly of the Sermon on the Mount. 

You must do more than that. 

You must obey it and take action.

You can't stand outside and admire the narrow gate; you've got to drop everything and walk through it. There's that self-denial again. 

You come through, stripped of everything.

But isn't that narrow-minded? Does that mean Christianity doesn't allow room for opposing viewpoints? No compassionate tolerance? No diversity?

That's exactly right.

We don't do it that way because we're selfish or prideful or egotistical; we do it that way because that's what God said to do.

If God said there were forty-eight ways to salvation, I'd preach and write about all forty-eight of them. But there aren't:

"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved," Acts 4:12 reminds us, no other name but Jesus.

In John's gospel, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life" (6:35); "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (14:6); "He who does not enter the sheepfold by the a thief and a robber...I am the door" (10:1,7)

Paul affirmed these words in 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." 

There's only one: Christ and Christ alone. That's a narrow viewpoint. but that is Christianity, and it is the truth. You have to enter on God's terms, through God's prescribed gate. Christ is that gate. Holy God has the right to determine the basis of salvation, and He has determined that it is Jesus Christ and Him alone. You can enter only through Him, by faith."

He then talks about how to enter the narrow gate. He says here:

"To come through the narrow gate, you must enter with your heart repentant over sin, ready to turn from loving sin to loving the Lord."

And later he writes:

"The requirements are firm, strict, refined, and clear-cut, and there's no room for any deviation or departure from them. It must be the desire of our hearts to fulfill them, knowing full well that when we fail, God will chasten, and then God will wonderfully and lovingly forgive and set us on our feet again to pursue His will."

The narrow gate is not a popular subject.

It's been debated a million times, even within the church, but when we step away from the chatter and really listen to what Jesus is saying we will hear...hope in the narrow gate, unconditionally love in the narrow gate, and unspeakable joy in the narrow gate.

Because, Jesus is that narrow gate.

He is forgiving of a repentant heart and the gate is always open to you.

You just have to walk through it.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."   2Peter 3:9

Here's one of my favorite songs by Jeremy Camp, which expresses the wonderful only way...Jesus.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. Sounds like a great read! I have a couple other books by him and I've really enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    -S.L. Payne,

  2. The gate is narrow but it leads to such a great expanse. The freedom of this wide open place is so worth the struggle at the gate!!

  3. I enjoyed reading the post! This is a tough concept in the world we live in, which is all about me and my way. Being a Christian is about living how Jesus wants and doing what He told us to do for salvation. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thankful for His grace which accomplishes above and beyond all that I could ever begin to do. In Him I am all that He is, striving to walk that narrow gate because I delight in what He has accomplished.
    Thank you for shining His light.
    Stopping by via Christina's Make My Saturday Sweet.
    Much love!

  5. Laying down everything and walking through. I love this Cathy. Thank you so much for linking it at CMB.

  6. I'm next to you at Barbie's this week. I'm always glad when someone is willing to stand up for the truth that there is one way to the Father, and that is through Jesus.

  7. Walking through the narrow gate my friend and stopping by from The Weekend Brew to have a cup of coffee with you too. :)

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book, and for linking up at The Weekend Brew!

  9. Thank you for sharing TRUTH. Narrow IS the gate. Can't take a lot with us if it's not too wide. Linking up at the Weekend Brew.

  10. I love the line, "We don't do it that way because we're selfish or prideful or egotistical; we do it that way because it's what God said to do" But the world does not see it that way, but it's important for us to always remember the why. I love the picture of the gate smooshed in between the rocks. It often feels that way. Looks like a good, but definitely not light read. (Popping over from Weekend Brew)

  11. Thank-you all for stopping by! This was one of those books that gets you thinking and I always love John MacArthur's straight-forwardness. He's rarely afraid to speak the truth and I love his passion for the lost. Hope you all get a chance to read through it sometime. : )

  12. Some interesting thoughts to consider there. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Always a pleasure to have you!


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...