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:Matthew 7:13
Today’s verse is commonly misused to coerce people to accept Jesus as their Savior or suffer an eternity in hell. This application rips the verse from its context and teaches something completely different than what Jesus intended.
The context of this verse is the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. A simple look at the beginning of this portion of scripture will show who the “ye” is in this verse.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,Matthew 5:1-2
Jesus was teaching His disciples. Therefore, He was teaching people who were already born again and following Him. He would not be calling on them to choose heaven or hell because their actions showed evidence that Jesus had already chosen them and they were secure in Him!
Further, the beginning of chapter 7 contains the phrase “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” You will recall that Jesus was teaching that we have no right or ability to judge someone else’s standing before God. If we cannot judge a person’s standing, then neither do we have the right or ability to present to them the choice of heaven of hell.
And in all honesty, let’s look at the idea of “decisional salvation” for a moment. If it is up to me to choose whether to accept the work of Jesus Christ or not, then my decision, will, and power are more powerful than the blood of Christ! No, this cannot be!
This verse is not teaching us to choose our eternal destiny. It is teaching God’s children that there are two paths we can choose to walk in this life. We can choose a life of luxury and ease filled with the things of this world or we can choose to follow the Lord. The former path has its consequences – destruction in our lives. The latter path also has a result – the abundant life!
I pray that you choose to live the abundant life following Jesus!