Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The wide gate is alive and well, many are still going in it. What is wide gate in the context of Matthew 7? World religion, false teachings and doctrines. In Matthew 7, Jesus warns of false prophets and teachers who are selling tickets to this wide gate, the broad way which by deception tells the sinner that no repentance is necessary, that good works are the key to earning your salvation, and that bad fruit is totally ok.
Jesus makes a key distinction, the wide gate is easy, the narrow gate is difficult. Just naming it and claiming it for example is easy. The difficult way is to repent, to actually live your life in Christ, giving up your idols, friends and family who are encouraging you to that wide gate. It is difficult because we are born fallen, we naturally desire the world and its decay rather than God and His eternity.
Placing faith alone in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved is naturally difficult for a fallen sinner. It seems rather simple and easy does it not? But it isn’t! Just ask the billions of Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and other worldly cultic religions. Because placing faith alone in Him means denying oneself, admitting you have been deceived by your religion, having to accept that all those vain works you thought God counted were actually filthy rags, and your church attendance amounts to nothing.
Jesus goes on to say in Matt 7:21-23 that many will call Him “Lord” and He will respond basically “sorry, I never knew you”. He is indicating these were the folks who bought tickets to the wide gate. I believe there will be utter shock and dismay on Judgment Day when Jesus makes this statement after hearing the arguments from those who thought their church was the “one true church’. There will be desperate pleas such as “bring out Mary, she will vouch for us!”, “but Lord what about all those good things I did?”, “but Lord, I didn’t know it was sin so you cannot condemn me!”, and other sad pleas which will not work to change His mind.
Narrow is the way, it is difficult, not easy. If it were easy, the world would be filled with Christians living the Christian life by Scripture alone, desiring holiness, repenting of sin, praising God to His glory alone, while placing their faith ALONE in Jesus Christ.