The Two Ways
Matthew 7:13, 14
Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…

The idea of "the two ways" seems to have laid hold of the mind of the early Church very strongly; a treatise known by that name was in use among the primitive Christians, and the first part of the recently discovered Church manual, entitled, 'The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,' embodies that treatise. It was not thought easy to be a Christian in the heroic days of persecution; it is not really any easier to-day, when the difficulty comes rather from the all-pervading atmosphere of worldliness.

I. THE ENTRANCE. The gate of the one way is narrow, the gate of the other wide. We are directed to think of beginnings. This is a subject to be studied in early life. It comes up at the great moment of decision. We must just think of the gate, for until we have passed through we cannot be in the way at all.

1. The straitness of the first gate. No one can become a Christian without an effort. We do not drift into the kingdom, nor do we grow up in it unconsciously. Even the children of Christian homes need to come to decision and make a deliberate choice. Moreover, there are sins to be repented of, evil habits to be renounced; pride must be humbled, and the simple trust of a little child attained. We become Christians by complete surrender to Christ.

2. The width of the second gate. We do not need to make any choice of evil. Evil is all around us. We have but to let ourselves go, and we shall be swept through the wide gate. This is so very wide that we cannot miss it if we merely permit ourselves to go with the crowd.

II. THE WAY. Life is more than its beginnings. We have to consider its whole course. But that course is likely to resemble its commencement. The strait gate leads to the narrow way, the wide gate to the broad way. The whole life has a character of its own.

1. Why the right way is narrow. This is not because there is a virtue in restraint on its own account.

(1) There is but one right way, while there is an infinite diversity of wrong ways. At every moment there is just one thing needful, one thing that it is our duty to do then and there. If we neglect that, we can make our choice out of any number of things that ought not to be done.

(2) Righteousness involves self-denial. We have to take up the cross to follow Christ.

2. Why the wrong way is broad. The very variety of evil makes it so. Then there is no law in sin. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Thus the way of evil is one of wild self-will; it is every one turning to his own way (Isaiah 66:3). A track across open country, if much used, tends to become wider and wider as each fresh traveller chooses what seems to him the best bit of ground on which to walk.

III. THE END. The two ways keep apart from beginning to end; neither issues in the other. The broad way is not a short cut to the narrow way. Each has a separate destination. We do not all come to the same end. But the character of the end is determined by the character of the way. This makes the way of great importance. It is not a city in which we dwell, nor even a temporary camping-ground on which we rest for a night. We are always moving along it. The great question is - Whither does it tend? Christ sets the alternative before us very clearly - eternal life or destruction. Here is reason for rousing ourselves and listening to the urgent entreaty of the Saviour, "Enter ye in," etc. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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:

WEB: "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.

The Two Ways
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