April 23, 2010 • By Ed Wrather
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. - Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV.
Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from.’” - Luke 13:23-25 NKJV.
There is a huge flaming crater in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, which is about 60 yards wide that is called “Hell's Gate” or “Hell's Door” by people in the area. The crater is the result of a blow-out caused by a drilling accident back in 1971. Soviet petroleum engineers decided to burn off the gas, and it has been burning ever since. Hell's Gate is a tourist attraction for the foreign tourists that actually make it to the country, and it is said to be a beautiful sight to see (You can see photos of it on the web.). However, Turkmenistan's president would like to put out the fire so that development of natural gas reserves in the area will not be hindered.
It would be great if the actual gate to enter hell was located in the Karakum Desert then we could just avoid the place, and never go to hell. Hell's Gate, however, is much closer and much more personal than that. We enter Hell's Gate in more subtle, unsuspecting ways. Life has a way of keeping us busy with things other than the vital spiritual ones. Our attention is placed on work, family, our home, and we seldom think about God and eternity.
The path to hell is more of a slide than a walk. The busier we are with our worldly affairs the closer we slide to the gaping mouth of the Gate of Hell. We ignore our spiritual condition, we push aside any thoughts about God, or church, or Jesus, and we slide closer and closer to that Gate of no return. When we do think about spiritual things, we think of how we are not any worse than many religious people that we know. We think that a good God would never send anyone to hell. We think of all the religions in the world, and think they probably all lead to the same place. We slide closer to the gaping mouth of hell as we focus in on more pleasant thoughts. It becomes a habit to avoid thinking of spiritual things, and only of worldly things. It becomes a habit never considering, and to avoid considering, what will happen after you die.
The spiritual truth is that there is only One way to avoid the Gate of Hell, and that way is a very narrow way, because that way is only through Jesus Christ. Jesus says this in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” We can only enter the narrow gate by believing upon Jesus as our Savior, as Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3:14-17, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Are you sliding closer and closer to the gaping mouth of the Gate of Hell? Or, have you already entered into eternal life through the “narrow gate” of believing upon Jesus Christ?