Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
It appears, then, that it is not an easy thing to enter in; that it is a hard and difficult matter for a man to be saved. Now let us see some particulars in which it is difficult. Let us observe some of those points of religion, in which if we would succeed, we are bound to strive; and where if we strive not we shall not enter in.
1. One thing which is of very frequent occurrence, and in respect of which men ate very commonly mistaken, is their attendance on the worship of God. You think it perhaps enough to attend when it is convenient, to come when you can spare time from business or pleasure; once on the Sunday, or not even thus often. But is this striving to enter in? Many of you know well that if you were really to strive you could attend more frequently, more regularly. Be not, then, deceived. The way is narrow, the gate is strait; strive to enter in, or you approach in vain.
2. Or consider now the doctrines of Christianity. Many of you perhaps think very little about them, deem them above your comprehension, and never take pains to understand them. Or if you do, you complain that they are hard to discover, and difficult to understand. And so indeed they are, to the natural man, to the mind that is unenlightened by the Spirit of truth. But never imagine that this excuses you from the duty of searching into them, "or that here you may safely walk in the broad path, neglecting to learn what God has thought fit to teach.
3. If there be any here who spend no time, take no anxious thought, give no diligent attention to know the things that belong to their peace; to them I say, you are mistaken, you are in danger, you must strive, or you will not enter in.
4. Or take the account which the Scriptures give of what a Christian ought to practise. Is it not a constant warfare, a continual effort, to mortify the flesh, to renounce the world, and to resist the devil? It is when we fail, to renew the contest; when we faint, to recover strength; when we succeed, still to press forward; to seek ever more and more excellent gifts; and to run as in a race, every day of our lives, unto the very hour of death, that we may win the prize. Is this a hard saying? Is this view of our duty as Christians difficult and discouraging? It may be so. But the question is not whether it be a difficult one, but whether it be the true one. Could it be the true one, unless it were difficult? Could any view of the way to be saved be correct, unless it pointed to a narrow path, to a strait gate, and bid us strive, in order to enter in?
(C. Girdlestone, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.