The Narrow Door
Updated: Nov 7, 2021
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” ~ Jesus Christ (Luke 13:24)
For around a month now, I have purposely chosen not to post any new articles until I figure out how to tackle this sensitive topic. I would be lying to you if I said it was an easy article to write, as this is a topic of such paramount importance to myself and everyone else that I know, that I had to dedicate 2 years to its study and adherence before I could take a stand on the same. To cut to the chase, I'd like to give you a little context behind the harsh reality of the narrow door.
When I first became a new Believer in Christ, I was under the false impression that this journey to the truth would be a cakewalk and that following Jesus would be as easy as riding a bike. 698 days and 13 hours later, I would sincerely like to pummel that misconception with the correctional slipper. I can barely find the words to describe the change in my circumstances and behaviour, as well as the tremendous hardship that would follow as a result of my choosing to follow Christ. Unlike the rosy ideas that I had about what it meant to be a Christian, which had closely resembled evenings spent reading the Bible in a glitzy cafe like Starbucks, with a squad of smiling fellow Believers to support me on this journey; the true reality of following Christ is better visualized as a single, battle-worn believer, strafing and diving from cover-to-cover on an apocalyptic battlefield, trying to avoid the barrage of incoming enemy projectiles while frantically clutching the dog-eared remnant of his/her Bible as their sole weapon of choice against forces of malignant and evil spiritual entities that seek to divert or destroy those who are brave enough to pursue after the truth. Though the above imagery might seem a little melodramatic, it's actually a complete understatement of a Christian's journey to fulfil the tenets of * Biblical morality after choosing to accept Christ as our only God and Saviour.
* I refrain from using morality in the Worldly sense, as its exact connotations and boundaries have been and continue to be altered and redefined to such an extent over the last few centuries that it leaves room for ample grey area, within which some of the most depraved crimes of human history have been and are still being committed without remorse
To start with, I rarely address the topic of demonic entities, primarily because the topic doesn't sit well with most folks. Folks either feel instantly creeped out or scoff in sceptic mockery at the very idea of something evil that exists beyond what they can sense, and to some extent, they are correct. If we are talking about the popular western caricature of the devil as an animated red man wearing red tights and brandishing a golden pitchfork, or Tom Ellis's portrayal of the Devil on that Netflix TV show called 'Lucifer', then yes, the idea of a devil is laughable and at best, it could serve as an antagonistic figure that one can use to scare their children into not stealing candy from the fridge. But that is where I would like to quote Charles Baudelaire and Ken Ammi when they said -
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist” —Charles Baudelaire “The second greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he is the good guy” —Ken Ammi”
Whether or not one would believe it, there are unseen evil entities that attempt to inspire, manipulate, influence and corrupt all of us at a root level, living amongst us in our homes, our schools, our classes and even our governments in plain sight, masquerading and manifesting themselves as angels of light and guiding people of influence and religious leaders, to deceive the gullible into a way of life and thinking that is so far removed from God that one can now be a 'spiritual' person without being 'religious' or having to follow or know God at all. You see folks, the dangerous thing about these beings is not just the fact that they coexist amongst us, but that we don't care enough about the matter to take them and their influence on us seriously. From experience, the more time we spend pursuing God with an earnest and genuine fervour for the truth, the more this reality becomes apparent to us and the more 'sin' becomes a thing to be understood in more depth and actively avoided at all costs.
Over the last few months, as I transitioned into an introverted and self-critical mindset, I found myself spending far more time in solitude while studying my Bible and its treasure trove of related literature and content, while simultaneously engaging with many others regarding the nature and scope of their faith or lack thereof, in God. Not only did I see several trends that I found concerning, but I also noticed that I scarcely touched upon the urgency of genuine repentance and the Second Coming of Christ, because I assumed that could wait for a later date while I tackle the discussion of apologetics and the 'reasons to believe' arguments. The cost of this error was that I failed in communicating the essence of the Gospel of Christ and never really discussed the key elements that are generally unpopular or uncomfortable to discuss, but are absolutely pertinent to understanding the need for following Christ today. Perhaps I am a better writer than I am an Evangelist or an Apologist, and that is why I could probably do more justice writing my thoughts on the topic.
With that segue, we come to the narrow door or the 'narrow gate'.
Back in 2019, when I first opened my Bible as a born-again Believer in Christ, I came across the heart-stopping verse in the book of Luke (chp 13: verses 22~35) which reads as follows:
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out.”
Essentially, Jesus focuses less on the 'how many would be saved' question and gets right to the far more cardinal question about whether or not 'we would be saved'. He compares the route to heaven to a narrow gate, that many will try to enter while only a few would be able to do so. He compares the Owner of the House to Himself here, saying that guests that arrive after the door has been shut and locked will not be allowed in, despite their pleading. What a sobriety-inducing passage!
He goes further in the book of Matthew (Matthew 7:13-14) by saying:
“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.”
Here, He also introduces the wide gate as an antithetical depiction of 'the road that most have taken', stating that the route that leads away from Heaven to destruction (hell) is a broad and essentially simpler route that most people, by default, would choose to follow voluntarily. In fact, He goes as far as to say that, though there would be folks who tried to find the narrow gate, only a few would end up finding it, making it very clear that even professing Christians HAVE TO 'strive' to enter through this gate by genuinely seeking Him and understanding His will for our lives.
Closing up with one last passage from the book of Matthew (Matthew 7:21-23) -
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never KNEW you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
With that humbling passage, it's safe to conclude that Jesus makes one thing very clear; the ONLY route to Heaven is not through organized religion with political agendas or being students of the 'isms' and the 'ologies' of this world, but through a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no grey territory here or even a remote possibility of being a fence-sitter by following Jesus amongst other gods or options simultaneously. He has not left us with that option and has even made His absolute distaste for fence-sitters crystal clear in the book of Matthew (Mat 12:30) -
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Therefore, we can clearly understand the following points from the above passages -
If you choose to follow Christ, it is not a simple path, period. It is a path fraught with self-denial, spiritual battles, and a boatload of external judgement with the high possibility of turning you into a social outcast, perhaps even persecution for your faith (as is seen in many countries today). You essentially have to be 'willing' to give up everything and everyone you love to follow Him and bear the burden of this responsibility as our individual crosses on this universal search for the absolute truth.
There is no room for agnostics on this train. I often find that those who are on the fence about the existence or lack thereof of God have already made a decision by not making a decision, in a plot to play it safe and hold all bets until the end of the game. However, more often than not, this decision to stay on the fence is not backed by genuine research and study on the topic, but concluded prematurely with a truckload of prior cognitive biases that deem the entire matter as 'inconsequential', 'optional' or 'limited'. Well, folks, you can't have it both ways if you choose to follow Christ
We have also seen that Christians themselves are not safe from judgement if they have not truly accepted Christ and actually live a double life outside of the church. We cannot be two separate people at the same time and have one part of us that's a righteous and humble Christian, while the other part of us lives a sheltered and private life of pridefulness, hatred, idolatry, materialism, sexual promiscuity, and the whole gambit of sinful vices, without a single thought of the consequences of blatant indifference to eternal affairs.
There is no ambiguity in the Gospel to exploit, no shortcut to the narrow gate that can be taken, and no loophole in His Word to reinterpret, concerning matters of eternal salvation through Christ. So congratulations, if you are a Christian. You now have an arduous, unknown, and challenging journey ahead, and any attempts to circumvent the Word to suit your current lifestyle would be met by eternal consequences of an unpalatable magnitude. Do not underestimate the journey and the trials ahead, as I had learnt the hard way, rather, work relentlessly towards a more intimate relationship with the God of the Universe and boldly share the truth of the Gospel with the confidence that it will stand the test of time, public scrutiny, judgement and persecution.
For the Bible is not a glorified rule book of do's and do not's that aims to incarcerate believers in irrational and burdensome chains, but it is our only real chance at experiencing true eternal peace, joy and freedom in a world of second-rate counterfeits with expiry dates.
Lastly, for those who have chosen not to follow or believe in Christ, or even to abstain from doing so until a later period, I'd like to leave you with an introspective thought that you could take away from this article. Despite contrary notions, humankind and the nature of our universe bear a strong watermark of Intelligent design. Day by day, we are discovering more about our origins through the different bodies of scientific research that are slowly revealing the macro picture, nullifying many older theories that supported a universe that came into existence from 'nothing'. One would truly have to hate God to ignore the data in favour of an Intelligent Designer and conclude that we are more likely the byproducts of time, space and luck, rather than the creation of a Loving and Just God.
Now, the enemy of religions with political and sociological vendettas/motives is documented history and scientific discovery. If you analyse the origin and contents of the scriptures of the other popular religions, you'd find a laundry list of irreconcilable contradictions, historical errors, a lack of archaeological evidence to support the narrative of their scriptures, over and above the existing moral defects of its key tenets, prophets, gurus and theological implications. But when examined under an objective microscope, you'd find that these defects do not plague the Biblical narrative in the same way as other religious scriptures, which actually provides the only reliable Creationist account that champions the Intelligent Designer narrative, amongst all the other world religions, and this is not a fact to take lightly, because then it is not the lack of evidence that Christ is God that causes you to disbelieve the Gospel accounts, rather an unwillingness to submit to Him because of other personal reasons.
So, do not take public sentiment, common beliefs, or any of your prior biases into your decision-making process here, as you are accountable for your own choices and beliefs and have no promise of living to see tomorrow, due to the unpredictable and brief finitude of our existence. To some, Jesus was just a wise man who was killed by a system of prejudice and injustice. To others, He was just a teacher or a 'Rabbi'. To some, even today, He is only a Prophet. But the only relevant question that echoes throughout the minds of believers and unbelievers alike, for centuries after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, asked by Jesus Himself to those who wish to follow Him, was written in the Book of Matthew (16:15) -
"He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” ~ Jesus Christ