As Jesus travelled towards Jerusalem, passing through villages, He taught many along the way.
Luk 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
Luk 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luk 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
Luk 13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
Luk 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Luk 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
“iniquity” = “lawlessness, or a state of being without law.”
“strait gate” = “narrow” from the base of G2476; abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up).
Strive — The word signifies to “contend” as for the mastery, to “struggle,” expressive of the difficulty of being saved, as if one would have to force his way in.
strait gate — another figure of the same.
for many … will seek — “desire,” that is, with a mere wish or slothful endeavor.
and shall not be able — because it must be made a life-and-death struggle. [Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary]
Confused? So was I when I first started comparing the teachings of Jesus to those of Paul the supposed 13th Apostle of Christ and saw a decided difference between them. Paul made salvation easy; all one has to do to be saved was to “believe” that Christ arose from the dead. Jesus taught that entering the kingdom of God would be “difficult,” the “way would be narrow!” Now, maybe Paul had good intentions and there’s some explanation for his departure from what Jesus taught, but if there is, I haven’t yet found one. All I can think is that maybe Paul was only addressing the extreme legalistic teachings of the Jewish priesthood at that time, but how can one excuse Paul’s changing God’s words in many old testament passages to the point where he makes the Law of God null and void? Refer to his article http://spirit-wind.org/paul-and-the-law/
Who should followers of Christ believe if not Jesus? Should they take Paul’s word and teachings over those of Jesus, the Son of God who died for all men and who alone has been given all authority in heaven and on earth? [Mt 28:18] Paul, however devoted or sincere he was, is NOT man’s savior – he was just a man and where his words conflict with those of the Savior’s, I for one will chose Jesus’s words over his every time.
God’s last “covenant” with His people Israel, was His Ten Commandments and the other 613 commands written in the book of Moses; together they are what’s called the Mosaic Code. The ONLY thing that was changed in this Covenant which God made with all Israel, was that far into the future God would “write His laws upon the hearts” of his people – Jer 31:31, 32 & 33
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity (lawlessness), and I will remember their sin no more.
Thus, the so called “new covenant” is really a renewed covenant in which God’s law would be written upon men’s hearts, a covenant which won’t take full effect until the Millennium (when all will know God; Jer 31:34) begins when Jesus returns – [Mt. 24]. God’s laws have not been abolished, discontinued, or nailed to Christ’s Cross as some misinformed or dishonest ministers have taught. Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Don’t listen to men who tell you God’s law no longer stands so you can disregard it, for such are “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” dishonest, ravenous, greedy dogs interested only in your tithes and offerings, not your salvation! Have you never wondered how it is that ministers who teach that the ‘law’ is obsolete, DEMAND that you give to THEM tithes and offerings which were part of the very same law which they say has passed away??? Listen to the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) who is with us to “lead us into all truth,” convict and comfort us –
Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 1Jn 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Want more proof that obtaining salvation isn’t easy like Paul taught? You can take the “broad (easy) way” which leads to destruction, or you can enter through the “strait (narrow, difficult) gate” which leads to life. Jesus said “few” will find the way to life! Thus, it stands to reason that if entering God’s kingdom is so easy, why is it that “few” find the way to it?
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Entering into God’s kingdom doesn’t sound easy here either, and remember it was Jesus who spoke these words. Notice the term “iniquity” is repeated in vs. 23.
In this passage Jesus is speaking of those who claim to know Him and calling them workers of “iniquity” or “lawlessness,” the state of having no law, more specifically HIS LAW! Notice that Jesus doesn’t allow them entrance into His kingdom because they failed to take heed to His law. How little the modern church regards the law of God as outlined in what is inaccurately called the Old Testament making it sound outdated or obsolete. True, some parts of it are obsolete and non-binding upon believers in the New (renewed) Covenant, but there are still many parts of the previous covenant God made with Israel that are STILL VALID for believers today. Discerning which parts are and aren’t requires time and diligent study of the Scriptures, which sadly, many aren’t willing to do to their peril. – Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Jesus requires OBEDIENCE to his law – “those who DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN” will be allowed into his kingdom, those who DON’T DO IT won’t be. Notice how Jesus rejected those who thought that their doing of all kinds of wonderful WORKS would gain them entrance into His kingdom. You see, however wonderful our WORKS are, they aren’t enough to gain us favor with God or entrance into His kingdom – we must have more, we must walk in obedience to His law! Read it over as many times as you wish, foreward and backward, makes no difference – the way to (eternal) life is “NARROW” and “STRAIT,” a Gate you have to “STRIVE” (struggle) to enter, even force your way into.
If you believe I’m wrong about any of this, please feel free to write me and let me know where I’ve erred. I’m always open to correction since I’m imperfect and still learning as I continue to follow Yeshua and abide in His Word.
Shalom to those who shema (hear) and obey the Ruach HaKodesh (God’s Holy Spirit)!