Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Narrow Gate



Good News

The Narrow Gate
 by Shevanthi Kanaganayagam

The Author with her husband James K
Christianity is often accused of being a “narrow religion”  Those who follow it are criticized for being close minded and exclusive.  This is no surprise as Jesus’ teachings prove it.   We have a narrow faith because our Lord taught the “truth” which is narrow.

The God of the Bible says that the way is narrow (Matthew 7:19).  He declares that many are called (invited), but few chosen (Matt.22:14.

Some Christians find this narrowness a difficulty.  We would like to think of God in terms of grading us for our good ness.  Of course we expect to be graded against a Hitler not a Mother Theresa.

The parable of the narrow door found in Luke 13:22- 30 is part of the long collection of narratives and teachings that took place as Jesus made His way to Jerusalem for the last time.  As Jesus taught, it was inevitable that someone would ask “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”  (Luke 13:23).  The Jewish people thought that their genetic tie to Abraham would secure them a place in the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus’ teachings were contrary to this thought.  Jesus clearly taught that those who thought their position was secure needed to look again at  the criteria for membership.

Jesus’ answer showed the listeners that they were not asking the right questions.  Rather than asking how many would be in the kingdom, they should be discovering what they must do to be included in the kingdom.

Ad Jesus began to answer the question He admonished his listeners to strive to enter through the narrow door (Luke 13:24).  The word used her for strive is whole hearted effort.  Involvement of soul, mind and body.  In other words Jesus was saying that no one will enter the kingdom hanging on the coattails of his or genetic origin.  Sure salvation is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9), but God does not drop it in on sinners who don’t want it. 

Once the owner of the house closes the door, the opportunity for entrance is over (Luke. 13: 25-30) God is not capricious.  He is long suffering and merciful.  The illustrations in Luke 13: 34,35 depicts it.  But once the door closes, entrance is no longer possible.

Pic. Credit: sxc.hu
The objection of those shut out of the house began with the defense that they had physical proximity to Christ (Luke 13:26).  Our membership in a church or the many activities that we are involved does not earn us a ticket to heave.
The final paragraph of the parable describes the severe results of rejecting Christ (Luke. 13: 28-30).  “The weeping and wailing indicate an inconsolable grief.  The gnashing of the teeth express  the ultimate anger and frustration”  (Leon Morris).  The people had missed their only hope and they could never regain it.

Today the parable still speaks a warning to those who reject the truth of Christ.  It also warns those who have been listening carelessly with a false assurance of belonging to God.  Toady is the day of salvation, so lets go out and proclaim the Good News that, “Jesus is the only way, the truth and life.” CL



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Source:
Confident Living Magazine, Secunderabad India
Originally published in the Guidelines Magazine, Sri Lanka.
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