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Why did God make salvation such a narrow path?

Jesus stated in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter via the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road that leads to destruction is broad, and many enter through it. But the gate is small, and the road to life is narrow, and only a few find it." This passage causes some to doubt God's goodness. After all, if He truly desires to save everyone, why didn't He make it easier for people to be saved? Why doesn't He simply let everyone in?

When we hear the word narrow, we immediately think of biassed selection. It appears that God has rated us all on some sort of scale and only allows a select few to enter His presence. However, Jesus had told the same audience a few verses earlier, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and it will be found; and knock, and it will be opened to you. Everyone who asks receives; everyone who seeks finds; and everyone who knocks will have the door opened "(Matthew 7:8–9) Jesus made it clear that the way to eternal life is available to anyone who asks.

The gate to heaven, on the other hand, is "narrow" in the sense that it has a specific requirement for entry—faith in Jesus Christ. Only in the Person of Jesus Christ can one find salvation; He is the only way (John 14:6). The "wide" gate is not exclusive; it accepts human effort as well as all other world religions.

The narrow gate, according to Jesus, leads to a "hard" road, one that will take us through hardships and difficult decisions. Crucifying our flesh (Galatians 2:20; 5:24; Romans 6:2), living by faith (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 10:38), enduring trials with Christlike patience (James 1:2-3, 12; 1 Peter 1:6), and living a lifestyle separate from the world (James 1:27; Romans 12:1-2) are all requirements for following Jesus. When given the choice between a narrow, bumpy road and a wide, paved highway, most of us opt for the latter. Human nature prefers comfort and pleasure. Most people shy away from the prospect of denying themselves in order to follow Jesus (John 6:66). Jesus never lied, and the truth is that few people are willing to pay the price to follow Him.

God provides salvation to anyone who accepts it (John 1:12; 3:16-18; Romans 10:9; 1 John 2:2). But only on His terms. We must follow the path He has laid out for us. We cannot forge our own paths or approach a holy God through our own efforts. We are all filthy in comparison to His righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10). God cannot simply overlook or excuse our sin. He is both merciful and just. Sin must be paid for in order for justice to be served. He paid that price at great personal expense (Isaiah 53:5; 1 John 3:1, 16; Psalm 51:7). We are guilty before the God we rejected unless the blood of Jesus covers our sin (Romans 1:20).

The path to God was completely blocked, and sin was the impediment (Romans 5:12). Nobody deserves another chance. We are all entitled to continue on the "wide road that leads to destruction." However, God loved us enough to provide a way to eternal life (Romans 5:6-8). He also knows that in our self-centered, sin-filled world, few people will desire Him enough to come to Him on His terms (John 6:44, 65; Romans 3:11; Jeremiah 29:13). With fleshly temptations, worldly attractions, and moral compromises, Satan has paved the way to hell. Most people let their interests and desires direct the course of their lives. They prefer earthly pleasure over the self-sacrifice required to follow Jesus (Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:37). The narrow gate is disregarded. Most people would prefer to invent their own religions and gods. So, rather than discrimination, Jesus declared that the road to eternal life is "narrow, and only a few find it."


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