Matthew 7:13-27 Examined: The Strait Gate and Narrow Way Biblically Defined (Part 1)

What is the strait gate and narrow way? This is a very important question, because without entering through the strait gate and narrow way, no Christian will inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven. So, it’s essential to understand what the strait gate and narrow way is. In Matthew 7, we see that the strait gate is spoken of as, or in relation to, the narrow way that leads to life that few find. In contrast, many attempt to enter in the Kingdom of Heaven through the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction. In Matthew 7, the false prophets are referred to as “ravening wolves” (KJV), so let’s start by looking at how a “wolf” is defined in the Bible:

(Acts 20:28-35) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves [3074] enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Notice that the words of Christ are to be remembered by those who oversee and feed the flock. Men who do not follow Christ will attempt to draw the flock away from following Christ, towards following them instead. And we can infer, by the context, that such motivation is for personal gain rather than for the sake of others.

Compare with Matthew 7:13-18:

(Matthew 7:13-20) Enter ye in at [1223] the strait [4728] gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [727] wolves [3074]. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt [4550] tree bringeth forth evil [4190] fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

G1223 –  through (88x),

G4728 – Outline of Biblical Usage: narrow, strait

G727 – rapacious:—extortion, ravening. Outline of Biblical Usage – rapacious, ravenous, a extortioner, a robber

G4550 –  Outline of Biblical Usage: rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless

Notice the context, where we see that a corrupt (rotten) tree brings forth evil fruit and cannot bring forth good fruit. The false prophets shall be known by their fruits. Notice that the passage doesn’t say that they may or may not be known by their fruits, but rather, the implication is that they shall be known by their fruits:

(1 John 3:10)  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

The wolves are not entering through the strait gate and narrow way. They come in sheep’s clothing, looking like sheep in appearance, but inwardly are “ravening” (KJV) wolves who will harm the flock through their own selfish lusts. We see by the Strong’s definition and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, that the Greek word for “ravening” can mean ravenous (extremely hungry), but it can also mean rapacious in terms of extortion for personal gain, which seems to be what is implied. Perversion from the truth in order to gain riches from the flock seems to be, at least in part, the implication when we compare Matthew 7:13-18 with Acts 20:28-35. The wolves do not follow Christ. They’re led by the lusts of the flesh (rather than by the Spirit of God). Therefore, the manifestation of their evil fruit is how the sheep can know that such men are false and to be fled from rather than followed:

(Luke 6:43-49) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart [2588] bringeth forth that which is evil [4190]: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

A good tree is known by his good fruit, and an evil tree is known by his evil fruit. We also see evil fruit in view, in Matthew 7:13-20 (above). The false prophets brought forth evil fruit (because they were not born again and Christ never knew them). They were never truly branches of the Vine (Christ) that bears good fruit. Rather, their fruit was evil fruit.

Also notice the similar language of Luke 6:43-49 (above), when compared with Matthew 7:21-27 (below):

(Matthew 7:21-27) 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

So, we can infer, by Matthew 7, that such false prophets are wolves who work iniquity in the sense of doing selfish works of the flesh for personal gain (in contrast is working righteousness in the sense of doing selfless works of the Spirit in service to the sheep):

(Luke 9:23) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Their fruit was evil fruit because they were corrupt (rotten) trees, even though they will claim to have prophesied in Christ’s name. He will tell these false prophets that He never knew them. They will expect to be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven because of their many wonderful works. But instead, they will find out that their many wonderful works were done with the wrong motivation behind them and were not good fruits of the Spirit:

(Matthew 7:18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(Luke 6:43-46) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

So, being a good tree has to do with the heart, not just the actions. To do those things that Christ says (follow Him), from the heart.

Christ did the Father’s will and spoke His words:

(John 14:10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

(John 12:49-50) For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

(John 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will [2307], but the will [2307] of the Father which hath sent me.

Believers are to do the will of the Father by doing Christ’s sayings:

(Matthew 7:21-25) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth [4160] the will [2307] of my Father which is in heaven. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth [4160] them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [4073]: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock [4073].

Christ is the Rock:

(1 Corinthians 10:4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock [4073] that followed them: and that Rock [4073] was Christ.

To do Christ’s sayings, is to do the will of the Father:

(James 1:22-27) But be ye doers [4163] of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer [4163] of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

(1 John 2:15-17) Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth [4160] the will [2307] of God abideth for ever.

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

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This entry was posted in apologetics, Arminianism, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, free grace, lordship salvation, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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