Friday, August 6, 2010

*BEST OF DTB #13* The Narrow gate

Matthew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. 7:14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

Luke 13:24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.

So often I hear these passages from anti-catholics, purported as "proof" that the Catholic church cannot be the true way. After all, they say, "there are a billion Catholics in the world! Jesus said that the gate is narrow and few will find it!"

Few indeed.

Never once have I claimed that simply being Catholic is enough to merit Salvation. That was the mistake the pharisees made.

Matthew 3:9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

Roman Catholicism is a necessary but insufficient means of salvation. No person who, in the free and fully informed consent of his will, rejects the Catholic church can be saved. There is no salvation outside the catholic church except for those who, by the light of God within them, seek to know and accomplish God's will with all their mind, body, heart, soul and strength and, despite their best efforts, fall short of full communion with the Catholic church.

Anyone who sees the truth and rejects it, or strongly suspects the truth, but suppresses the divinely inspired urge to seek it out, is culpable for that knowledge.

Yet many will see the truth, accept it, and still be condemned because they don't live it. For the seed alone, is not enough.

Matthew 13:3 And he spoke to them at length in parables, * saying: "A sower went out to sow.* 13:4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 13:5 Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, 13:6 and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. 13:7 Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 13:8 But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 13:9 Whoever has ears ought to hear."

The narrow gate and the constricted road speak to the difficulty of the journey of salvation. That is why few will find it. The greek word describing the narrow road is tethlimmenē, a word that suggests pressing or affliction.

τεθλιμμενη verb - perfect passive participle - nominative singular feminine
thlibo thlee'-bo: to crowd -- afflict, narrow, throng, suffer tribulation, trouble.

This is, of course, difficult for many who view salvation as easy and not requiring work or effort on our part. However, that view has never squared with Scripture. Misinterpreted passages like Romans 10:9 tell us who will be saved- those who truly believe in (pisteusēs- to entrust) Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us by what source Christ saves us. (χάριτι-Grace) but the way of salvation....the road....the narrow gate... has been and always will be following Jesus on the way of the cross.

Matthew 10:38 and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

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