(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
I’m not quite ready to leave this thought about the small gate and narrow road that leads to life and the few that find it. Does that mean that only a few people are going to be saved? I’m not so sure about that because visions of heaven in the scriptures have pictures of multitudes as represented there. Nor could it mean a small, exclusive club of true believers. It can’t mean that only a few people will be good enough for heaven. This, of course, was what the Pharisees thought, which Jesus roundly condemned. It’s really closer to the opposite of that — that those who get in are those who know they are not good enough for heaven — those who will be shocked, those who will think a mistake has been made and somebody’s going to find out and kick them out.
I think it’s primarily about a required humility needed to get into heaven — even to understand grace. It’s like everything else with Jesus; nothing is as it appears. The first will be last; the lowly will be lifted up; the lost will be found; the poor will be made rich; those who mourned on earth will be leaping for joy. If you’re looking at two gates leading to two roads, it’s the little broken down gate and the road less traveled that you want. Just look at Jesus from His humble birth to His humiliating death and realize nothing about this Messiah was as it should be. Is it any surprise that the gate and the road leading to His kingdom would be small and unassuming? It shouldn’t be if you understand Him.
I am reminded of Mrs. Turpin, the wife of a wealthy pig farmer in Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Revelation.” (Note: Lest someone be offended by the “n” word here, Ms. O’Conner was a southern writer in the 1960s when this word was commonplace. Besides, prior to this, her character, Mrs. Turpin, had just used the same word in her own mind when casting judgment on a room full of white trash and black people in a doctor’s waiting room.) Later, while admiring her prized pigs and staring at a vivid sunset, she had a vision.
A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud [her husband], had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away.
What I’ve always liked about this vision is that the respectable people are going to get into heaven too, it’s just that, by the time they get there, they will have lost what separated them, and will eventually be jumping around with the freaks.
Romans 12:3 kjv
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Walk humbly before Him for all the good gifts you have come from Heaven above.
Salvation does not mean you are chosen but called. The way i understand it to be chosen you need to make the choice to let God have His way with you and your life. The apostle Paul lived such a life. Let God lead you into total sanctification or Christlikeness. Be ready for blessings but also suffer like Job or it might seem so. That should be enough to show us that it is a rough road to follow Christ all the way, and not be satisfied with salvation alone, although it is enough.