Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.Luke 13:24
You might remember a story in the Bible about a man who asked Jesus a question: “Are there few that be saved?”
We don’t know who he was. We don’t know why he asked the question, aside from just being curious. And maybe, he wanted to know that there would only be a certain number of people who would receive salvation, giving himself an easy “out” of the whole thing for himself if he wasn’t to be one of them.
The clearest part of the entire story is the part where Jesus took the opportunity to remind all in attendance of their OWN duty. And it’s still a clarion call to us today: STRIVE… to enter in. It doesn’t matter whether there will be few or many, WE have to strive towards making it in. NOW is the day of salvation. A day is coming when striving will no longer work. One day after a while, there will be weeping and beating upon the door, but it will be too late.
STRIVE! And strive NOW.
Our Personal Responsibility
This one small story teaches an absolutely unmistakable truth and one that we need to remember and remind others about. And that is our very own responsibility for our own salvation. Understand, however, that this is nothing even close to salvation by WORKS. It isn’t works here that we are talking about. But more on that later.
Here, we have to realize that putting off dealing with the points that Jesus made in the Word is one of the worst things a body can do. It’s as plain and as clear as day, and Jesus speaks about it here. It describes the WAY to salvation: the strait gate. His command concerning that way is that we STRIVE to ENTER IN. He follows up with a bone-chilling prophecy about what will happen if we miss it: Many will seek to enter, but won’t be able to!
For anyone who reads and understands, and obeys Jesus’ commandment will be found when His second coming takes place. Since we know that even the angels in heaven don’t know what that day will be, don’t you think it’s important that we do everything we know how to do to make that safety as soon as possible?
The Strait Gate
This gate proverbially speaks of a way to pardon, complete peace with God, and finally, a destination of heaven. The one who finds it and goes through it will be saved. And never before have we ever needed such a gate more than we need it now!
In the flesh, mankind is sinful, with a deceitful heart and evil imaginations. How could we finally be brought back together? How could we possibly hope to come near to Him without the fear and the shame that would accompany the life we lived before Him? The answer is… that strait gate. We have a door, this gate, that is available.
There was a covenant concerning this door/gate and the fact that it would be made. His death on the cross was the atonement. Through His death, there was a complete satisfaction of the sin that necessitated it. His death and His blood shed there on Calvary paid our debt to God. Jesus took the punishment that was due us.
Praise God, to construct this gate, it cost Him His own body and blood, but it made a way that even the vilest sinner could come into God’s holy presence without fear. The worst of mankind could come close to God and experience that peace that passes all understanding. He even said so!
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.John 10:9
If we ENTER IN that door… we shall be saved! But we have to first find it and ENTER IN. THEN… we shall be saved! And it is the ONLY way because no other exists. Jesus reminds us for all eternity of this fact as well:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.John 14:6
The Gate Is Narrow
It’s called “the strait gate” and for a very good reason. It’s not just strait, but it’s narrow too, and some people find it very hard to go through. This is how it will always be, especially to those who prefer sin, or worse still, love it! Anyone not willing to part with their sin (and a simple application of Truth for God’s Word, a pen, and a notebook, will quickly reveal to you your sins) will have no part of passing through that gate. For those who prefer what the world has to offer, it’s too burdensome to enter into.
In order to enter, you have to learn how to make physical and temporal sacrifices for the upkeep of the eternal soul. You can’t keep company with the same old worldly crowd and think you’ll make it in. You can’t stand on what you consider to be your good works: being a good person is not enough to warrant salvation! Self-righteous indignation will keep you out too.
God WANTS You To Enter!
It was never God’s intention to make things so hard that you couldn’t get in through the gate. There’s no such thing as having too much sin. It is forgivable. But you have to be willing to do WHAT God says to do, and be willing to do it HIS WAY.
For centuries, and maybe even a lot longer than that, people have worked pretty hard to make that gate wider. Bids were thrown to attempt to negotiate a lesser entry fee. The trouble with that is that the gate can’t be altered. It’s not spring-loaded nor is it elastic. It doesn’t enlarge its borders for easier passage.
The interesting thing is – it is STILL STRAIGHT AND NARROW.
No Other Way
There are no side doors and no way to bypass the strait gate. The wall doesn’t have gaps and there are no low places. Trying to find another way is just a waste of time. You can dislike it all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that what Jesus said is true.
But, the good news is, this strait gate stands ready to open. Your sin separates you only as far as it is unrepented of. Because he stands ready to forgive when you repent:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy GhostActs 2:38
Many Have Been To This Gate
There are already many who have been to that gate and seen their way through. Saul, for example, although a grievous offender, had once made it his life’s work to STOP the Gospel, and those that preached or believed it. But when God met him on the road to Damascus, don’t doubt for a minute that Saul knew exactly who it was. His heart was pricked, he understood his own guilt. And God used him mightily.
Those same Jews who cried out for Barabbas in place of Jesus that day, they were the kinds of people we would think God should never forgive. I can’t help but think it was some of them that were “pricked to the heart” when Peter preached in that upper room (Acts 2). And when the gate opened, they followed Peter’s directions as to what they should do with their great grief and guilt and they, too, found their way in.
The Philippian jailer was cruel and without God, that was obvious. The inner prison he threw Paul into was one of the most heinous places for any offender. But when the earth shook, his mind must surely have considered the possibilities that this man was no offender at all. Paul preached to him and he found that gate for himself.
Not All Are Biblical Examples
There are so many, since the days of the Apostles, who have gone through that one and only strait gate. There have been wise and ignorant, wealthy and pauper, young and old… So many have found that peace in hearing the Words of Jesus. Royalty and common man, soldiers, bankers, farmers, workmen, and so many that have yet to even be born… they to have and will have found that gate.
It doesn’t take a church building to give you access to this gate. It’s a heart condition, discovered by grace through faith. And what a gift to us, that gate is! However narrow the road to it might be! Consider those angels that “kept not their first estate”…
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chaings under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.Jude 1:6
Those angels spoken of here have no door… no gate… no escape that will ever open unto them. They fell then, and will never rise. Why? Because they LEFT THEIR HABITATION. They were ALREADY in the presence of God, and to leave that leaves nothing more to strive for. And they already knew what they were leaving. They were taken by the lies of that cunning serpent, and they left it willingly.
You Have That Gate!
We hear a bit about the Jews of the Old Testament, how they didn’t have access to the same gate we do:
…that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.Hebrews 9:8
WE have that gate plainly before us. WE have salvation already purchased for us! There is no need to attempt to buy it! How merciful a God we serve to love us enough to make this way possible AT ALL! YES, the way might be strait… and narrow. And YES, there are few that will find it!
Don’t wait. Don’t perish outside the gate after it’s locked when you knew all the time where it was!! Consider…
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;Hebrews 2:3