“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Once again, Jesus gives us a difficult command that is summed up in one single sentence. Treat others the way we would wish to be treated. This means we should treat people with love and respect. Frequently, we only focus on how others are treating us, and we let their actions dictate how we in turn treat them. For whatever reason, we justify being cold, caddy, or just rude to a great deal of people we come into contact with. We teach our children to say “please” and “thank you”, but swear at people in traffic. We smile politely at fellow church members and then gossip about them for pleasure. James 2:10 says “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” Our interactions with others should be gracious and sincere. We must remember that Jesus commanded us not to simply love those who love us, but to love those who dislike us. That is what separates genuine Christianity from the rest of the world.
Upon reading verses 13 and 14, I decided to Google search how many Christians there are in the world. The result of my search showed that as of 2010 (the most recent year data was available), there are 2.2 billion Christians on earth. With a current global population of about 7.4 billion people, that would translate to about 30% of people on earth professing the Christian faith. Did Jesus not know how fast the church would grow? Or did he get the gates mixed up in his mind? I don’t believe so.
I believe firmly in the sovereignty of God, and that he is all knowing. When Jesus talked about the narrow gate, he understood how many false prophets would come after he went back to heaven, with a different and distorted false message of salvation. He says that some of those who will come to him saying “Lord, Lord” will not be true Christians. Nor will some who cast out demons and do miracles in the name of Jesus. These are words straight from Scripture, not from me. God knows who the true Christians are in life. Revelation 21:27 “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” I can’t discern between 2.2 billion professing Christians who is genuine and who isn’t. No one can but God alone. My desire is for all to know salvation through Jesus, but the way most people choose to take is the easy path. It is simple to ignore Jesus, and just float through life. There is much greater difficulty in daily taking up our crosses and following Jesus. This lifetime is nothing compared to eternity. Read your Bible, pray daily, and spend time encouraging other believers. Our salvation as Christians is secure in Christ, but remember the warning Jesus gives later in Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”. It is hard to be on the narrow path, and at times very unpopular, but Jesus is a far better prize than an easy life.
I would encourage everyone to read The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It is a great encouragement to Christians everywhere, and deals with the struggles of living in an imperfect world while looking at a perfect God. Loved ones, seek the narrow gate!