Enter Through the Narrow Door

March 21, 2024 — Krystal Craven
The title text "Enter Through the Narrow Door" over a stone wall with an arched opening with a stone path leading into it.

He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)

Having recognized what Jesus meant as He compared the kingdom of God to a mustard tree and leavened bread, the asked if those who are saved would be few. And Jesus in His typical fashion on not being direct, but speaking in ways that required ears to hear what the Spirit was saying through Him, told everyone to strive to enter through the narrow door. He made it perfectly clear that some would desire to enter heaven, but not all would be able to. And He explained the hard truth, that some will hear God say to them in the end, “I do not know where you come from…Depart from me, all you workers of evil!”

The Narrow Door

This concept of the narrow door is further understood in places like Mathew 7:13-14 where Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Also in John 10:7,9 when Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep… If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” And it’s made perfectly clear when Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The kingdom of God, while on earth will be corrupted as it flaunts its mustard tree size and rises from the leaven within, but the true kingdom of God as it will be complete in heaven is exclusive to those who accept Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf, being justified and accepted as perfect in Christ before God the Father.

There is no alternative way to God and an eternal residence in heaven with Him. If one does not want to be with God in heaven, they won’t be forced. Their free will can be exercised to choose to deny salvation, but then they will be turned away in the end and be in a place described by Jesus as a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus describes the people who will be in the kingdom of God in heaven – among them are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets. What did these all have in common? Faith in the promises of God. Although they didn’t live to see the earthly coming of Jesus as Messiah, they trusted what God said about His plan of salvation and although they died on earth, they live forever with God in heaven because of their faith.

And we, having come on the earthly timeline after Jesus, have this in common with them – our faith that God’s promise of old, which came to fruition in Jesus’ work on the cross and through His resurrection, is what allows us to enter through that narrow door. We’ve all been given a measure of faith, it all just depends on where we place it. Placing it in Christ Jesus leads to eternal life forever with God, but placing it in anything else leads to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth being eternally separated from God.

Lord Open to Us

Following what Jesus said in last week’s devotional, the kingdom of God which on earth grows unnaturally large and houses birds of the air has corruption. There will not only be those who flat out did not follow Jesus but some will have been deceived into thinking they were good with God but weren’t.

Unfortunately, there are false doctrines that have crept in and teach things like God’s love only and don’t want to teach things like repentance and sanctification because it doesn’t “feel” good. The Word of God is living and active and able to sanctify us, carving out our old sin nature and making us complete into the image of Jesus. This is part of God’s design with our salvation and it’s good. So if a church is shying away from teaching the whole bible and skips over the harder topics because it doesn’t fall in line with what they’re describing as God’s love (aka tolerance and acceptance with a distain for repentance and obedience), then with confidence I can tell you that there are people in that church who are deceived.

They go throughout their lives living however they see fit, attending church on Sundays thinking they’re good to go with the Big Man Upstairs as they get their feel good message about how God loves them, and when the end comes, they’ll be confused as to why they’re not actually all good with God – and it’s because they never actually placed their faith in Jesus. They seek to enter through that wide open door of convenience instead of the narrow door in which Jesus admonished to enter through.

Saved or Not Saved?

How can we know who’s even saved or not then? The Bible is clear that our salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s God’s gift that we accept through faith. Once we’re in Christ, we cannot be snatched out of His hand. The real question is – are you in His hand?

I would hate to tell someone that God loves them (which is 100% true) and they accept Jesus, but then fail to tell them that salvation is only the beginning of their relationship with God in which He desires to change us and bring us into obedience to Him. That would be unloving because they would think they have received salvation and me not knowing the soil of their heart, they could be deceived if that seed isn’t watered and grows – which is the whole concept of discipleship. It is being God’s hands to help tend to the seedling and help equip them to be in the water of the word of God and grow.

Do you remember growing up as a child and getting growing pains in your legs? Dude, those hurt so bad! But it also meant our bodies were growing the way they should into mature adulthood. Much like that, our walks with God can be downright painful sometimes, but if we keep on the straight and narrow pathway following Jesus, we will indeed grow to be mature in Him and enter through the narrow door into the eternal kingdom of God in the end.

I want to encourage you, if you’re a follower of Jesus and have accepted Him as salvation, not to live in fear of hearing, “I do not know where you come from…Depart from me, all you workers of evil!”, but instead be intentional of abiding in Jesus, following Him daily, and live for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus with eagerness to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

The text from Luke 13:23-24 "And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." over a stone wall with an arched opening with a stone path leading into it.