Luke 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.
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(24) Strive to enter in at the strait gate.—See Notes on Matthew 7:13-14. Another instance of general teaching adapted to a special occasion. We note, however, the variation, “strive to enter in”—i.e., struggle as the wrestler struggles (the word being the same as that in 1Corinthians 9:25; 1Timothy 6:12), instead of the simple “enter ye in,” and the compression of the whole illustration.

13:23-30 Our Saviour came to guide men's consciences, not to gratify their curiosity. Ask not, How many shall be saved? But, Shall I be one of them? Not, What shall become of such and such? But, What shall I do, and what will become of me? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. This is directed to each of us; it is, Strive ye. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate, must undergo a change of the whole man. Those that would enter in, must strive to enter. Here are awakening considerations, to enforce this exhortation. Oh that we may be all awakened by them! They answer the question, Are there few that shall be saved? But let none despond either as to themselves or others, for there are last who shall be first, and first who shall be last. If we reach heaven, we shall meet many there whom we little thought to meet, and miss many whom we expected to find.Strive - Literally, "agonize." The word is taken from the Grecian games. In their races, and wrestlings, and various athletic exercises, they "strove or agonized," or put forth all their powers to gain the victory. Thousands witnessed them. They were long trained for the conflict, and the honor of victory was one of the highest honors among the people. So Jesus says that we should strive to enter in; and he means by it that we should be diligent, be active, be earnest; that we should make it our first and chief business to overcome our sinful propensities, and to endeavor to enter into heaven. This same figure or allusion to the Grecian games is often used in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 9:24-26; Philippians 2:16; Hebrews 12:1.

Strait gate - See the notes at Matthew 7:13-14. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 32) says: "I have seen these strait gates and narrow ways, 'with here and there a traveler.' They are in retired corners, and must be sought for, and are opened only to those who knock; and when the sun goes down and the night comes on, they are shut and locked. It is then too late."

Will seek to enter in - Many in various ways manifest some desire to be saved. They seek it, but do not agonize for it, and hence, they are shut out. But a more probable meaning of this passage is that which refers this "seeking" to a time that shall be "too late;" to the time when the master has risen up, etc. In this life they neglect religion, and are engaged about other things. At death, or at the judgment, they will seek to enter in; but it will be too late - the door will be shut; and because they did not make religion the chief business of their life, they cannot "then" enter in.

Shall not be able - This is not designed to affirm anything respecting the inability of the sinner, provided he seeks salvation in a proper time and manner. It means that at the time when many will seek - when the door is shut - they will not be able then to enter in, agreeable to Matthew 7:22. In the proper time, when the day of grace was lengthened out, they "might" have entered in; but there "will be" a time when it will be too late. The day of mercy will be ended, and death will come, and the doors of heaven barred against them. How important, then, to strive to enter in while we have opportunity, and before it shall be too late!

24. 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. (See on [1659]Mt 7:13, 14).

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.

See Poole on "Luke 13:23"

Strive to enter in at the strait gate,.... What is meant by the strait gate, and by entering in at it; see Gill on Matthew 7:13. To "strive", is to be diligent in the use of means; to search the Scriptures with care; to attend on the preaching of the word with constancy, neglecting no opportunity; to pray earnestly for spiritual light, knowledge, and grace; to contend with every enemy that opposes the salvation of the soul, as sin, Satan, and the world; to bear all reproaches and persecutions, and press through all difficulties, for the prize of the incorruptible crown: the metaphor seems to be taken from the striving, wrestling, and combat in the Olympic games, for a corruptible crown:

for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able: either when it is too late, when the door is shut; or else before, very faintly, in a superficial manner, from a mere natural affection, from a principle of self-love, which leads every one to desire happiness; and by very indirect and improper methods, by their own civility, morality, and righteousness; by works of the law, moral, or ceremonial; or by a profession of religion, and an outward compliance with the ordinances of the Gospel, and not by Christ, and faith in him.

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Luke 13:24. Πρὸς αὐτούς] refers to those who were present, of whom the questioner was one. Jesus, giving after His manner a practical application to the theoretical question, answers not directly, but by means of the admonition: Strive to enter in (to the Messiah’s kingdom, to which that question referred, conceived of as a house) by the narrow door, since many in vain shall attempt to enter. Therein is implied: “Instead of concerning yourselves with the question whether they who attain to salvation are only few, reflect rather that many shall not attain it, and set out therefore on the right road to attaining it.”

διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας] (see the critical remarks) reminds us of a house which has, besides the usual door, also a distinct small one, and only by means of this is admission possible: so the attainment of salvation is possible only by means of the μετάνοια. The figurative representation, which Jesus has already made use of in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:13, is here repeated and modified; the simple διὰ τῆς στεν. θύρ., without any more definite explanation (comp., on the other hand, Matt. l.c.), bears the stamp of a reference to something already previously propounded (in opposition to de Wette, Weiss, and others, who are in doubt as to the originality of the saying in this place).

ζητήσουσιν] weaker than ἀγωνίζεσθε.

εἰσελθεῖν] in general; διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας is not repeated.

κ. οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν] because they omit ἀγωνίζεσθαι εἰσελθεῖν διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας, i.e. they have not repented.

Luke 13:24. ἀγωνίζεσθε εἰς.: stronger than Mt.’s εἰσέλθετε, suggesting the idea of a struggle or prize-fight (1 Corinthians 9:25) in which only a few can win, so virtually answering the question in the affirmative.—διὰ τ. σ. θύρας, through the narrow door (πύλης, gate, in Mt.): no interpretation of the door here any more than in Mt. But the connection suggests repentance (Luke 13:23; Luke 13:25). The Kingdom of Heaven is here conceived of as a house.—πολλοί: the idea is that many shall desire admission and shall not obtain it. The reason in the parable is the narrowness of the door, making it impossible for so many to get in in a short time. All are in earnest; no stress is to be laid on ζητήσουσιν, shall seek, as if it meant something less than ἀγωνίζεσθε (Godet). All strive, but success is for the strongest who can push the weaker aside. So in the parable. In the interpretation the one point to be insisted on is: be in dead earnest.

24. Strive] The word implies the strong efforts of a contest. 1 Timothy 6:12.

at the strait gate] Rather, through the narrow door; reading thuras (א, B, D, L) for pules. Matthew 7:13.

will seek to enter in, and shall not be able] because they only seek, and do not strive; they wish for heaven, but will not abandon earth. Sometimes also because they seek too late (Proverbs 1:28-29; Isaiah 1:15; John 7:34; Hebrews 12:17), but mainly because they seek to enter through other ways by which there is no entrance, since Christ is the only door (John 10:7; John 14:6).

Luke 13:24. Ἀγωνίζεσθε, strive as in a contest) A merely speculative question is at the very outset turned to a practical account: strive by faith, with prayers, holiness, patient perseverance. However there follows also a reply to the subject of the question: see Luke 13:28, et seqq. [There are many, indeed, who are being saved, Luke 13:28-29; but they are such persons whom, of all men, thou wouldest have supposed least likely to be saved, Luke 13:29-30.—V. g.]—πολλοὶ) many, including Israelites also: see Romans 9:31. In antithesis to the ὀλίγοι, few.—οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν, shall not be able) יכל, LXX. ἰσχύω, absolutely. The contest (agon, from ἀγωνίζεσθε) is maintained by strength, especially the contest which we have in relation to God. They shall not have strength; namely, because they seek near by and about the gate [but do not go straight and direct, and with decision, to the entrance itself], and so at length, when the gate has been firmly shut fast, they shall not be able to burst through it: They neither seek in good earnest, nor put forth the strength which is needed for victory. See Luke 13:27 at the end.

Verse 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. The Master, as was frequently his custom, gave no direct answer to his questioner, but his teaching which immediately follows contained the answer to the query. The older authorities, in place of "at the strait gate," read "through the narrow door." The meaning of the image, however, is the same, whichever reading be adopted. The image was not a new one. It had been used before by the Lord, perhaps more than once (see Matthew 7:13, 14), and not improbably had been suggested by some town or fortress hard by the spot where he was teaching - a fort on a hill with a narrow road winding up to a narrow door. In the rabbinical schools he frequented in his youth, he might, too, have heard some adaptation of the beautiful allegory known as the 'Tablet' of Cebes, the disciple of Socrates: "Dost thou not perceive a narrow door, and a pathway before the door, in no way crowded, but few, very few, go in thereat?" The teaching of the Master here is, that the door of salvation is a narrow one, and, to pass through it, the man must strive in real earnest. "See," he seems to say; "if only few are saved, it will not be because the Jews are few and the Gentile nations many, but because, of the Jews and Gentiles, only a few really strive. Something different from race or national privileges will be the test at that narrow door which leads to life. "Many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." The reason for the exclusion of these many is to be sought in themselves. They wished to enter in, but confined themselves to wishes. They made no strong, vigorous efforts. Theirs was no life of stern self-surrender, of painful self-sacrifice. To wish to pass through that narrow door is not enough. Luke 13:24Strive

Used only by Luke and Paul, except John 18:36. Originally to contend for a prize in the public games; and thus conveying a sense of struggle. The kindred noun, ἀγωνία, agony, is used of Christ's struggle in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Compare 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7.

Strait gate (στενῆς θύρας)

Rev., narrow door. See on Matthew 7:13. The door of a house, and not a gate, is meant

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