Archive for December 8th, 2019


Here is a description of the way of salvation. Jesus calls it “the narrow gate.”

There is a gate which leads to pardon, peace with God, and Heaven. Whoever goes in by that gate, shall be saved. Never, surely, was a gate more needed. Sin is a vast mountain between man and God. How shall a man climb over it? Sin is a high wall between man and God. How shall man get through it? Sin is a deep gulf between man and God. How shall man cross over it? God is in Heaven — holy, pure, spiritual, undefiled, light without any darkness at all — a Being who cannot bear that which is evil, or look upon iniquity. Man is a poor fallen worm, crawling on earth for a few years — sinful, corrupt, erring, defective — a being whose imagination is only evil, and whose heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.How shall man and God be brought together? How shall man ever draw near to his Maker without fear and shame? Blessed be God, there is a way! There is a road. There is a path. There is a door. It is the gate spoken of in the words of Christ, “the narrow gate.”

This gate was made for sinners by the Lord Jesus ChristFrom all eternity He covenanted and engaged that He would make it. In the fullness of time He came into the world and made it, by His own atoning death on the cross. By that death He made satisfaction for man’s sin, paid man’s debt to God, and bore man’s punishment. He built a great gate at the cost of His own body and blood. He reared a ladder on earth whose top reached to Heaven. He made a door by which the chief of sinners may enter into the holy presence of God, and not be afraid. He opened a road by which the vilest of men, believing in Him, may draw near to God and have peace. He cries to us, “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” (John 10:9.) “I am the way: no man comes unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6.) “By Him,” says Paul, “we have boldness and access with confidence.” (Ephesians 3:12.) Thus was the gate of salvation formed.

This gate is called the narrow gateand it is not called so without cause. It is always narrow, and difficult to pass through to some people, and it will be so as long as the world standsIt is narrow to all who love sin — and are determined not to part with it. It is narrow to all who set their affection on this world — and seek first its pleasures and rewards. It is narrow to all who dislike trouble — and are unwilling to take pains and make sacrifices for their soulsIt is narrow to all who like company — and want to keep in with the crowd. It is narrow to all who are self-righteous — and think they are good people, and deserve to be saved. To all such, the great gate which Christ made, is narrow and strait. In vain they seek to pass through. The gate will not admit them. God is not unwilling to receive them; their sins are not too many to be forgiven: but they are not willing to be saved in God’s way.

Thousands, for the last eighteen centuries, have tried to make the gate wider! Thousands have worked and toiled to get to Heaven on lower terms. But the gate never alters. It is not elastic — it will not stretch to accommodate one man more than another. It is still the narrow gate.

As narrow as this gate is, it is the only one by which men can get to Heaven. There is no side door; there is no bye-path; there is no gap or low-place in the wall. All who are ever saved — will he saved only by Christ, and only by simple faith in Him. Not one will be saved by repentance. Today’s sorrow, does not wipe off yesterday’s sin. Not one will be saved by his own worksThe best works that any man can do — are little better than splendid sins. Not one will be saved by his formal regularity in the use of the outward means of grace. When we have done all — we are poor “unprofitable servants.” Oh, no! it is mere waste of time to seek any other road to eternal life.

Men may look right and left, and weary themselves with their own devices — but they will never find another doorProud men may dislike the gate if they will. Profligate men may scoff at it, and make a jest of those who use it. Lazy men may complain that the way is hard. But men will discover no other salvation than that of faith in the blood and righteousness of a crucified Redeemer. There stands between us and Heaven, one great gate: it may be narrow; but it is the only one. We must either enter Heaven by the narrow gate — or not at all.

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As narrow as this gate is, it is a gate ever ready to open. No sinners of any kind are forbidden to draw near: whoever will, may enter in and be saved. There is but one condition of admission: that condition is that you really feel your sins and desire to be saved by Christ in His own way. Are you really sensible of your guilt and vileness? Have you a truly broken and contrite heart? Behold the gate of salvation — and come in! He who made it declares, “Him that comes unto Me, I will never cast out.” (John 6:37.)

The question to be considered is not whether you are a great sinner or a little sinner — whether you are elect or not — whether you are converted or not. The question is simply this, “Do you feel your sins? Do you feel laboring and heavy-laden? Are you willing to put your soul into Christ’s hand?” Then if that is the case, the gate will open to you at once. Come in this very day. “Why do you stand outside?” (Genesis 24:31.)

As narrow as this gate is, it is one through which thousands have gone in and been saved.No sinner was ever turned back, and told he was too bad to be admitted, if he came really sick of his sins. Thousands of all sorts have been received, cleansed, washed, pardoned, clothed, and made heirs of eternal life. Some of them seemed very unlikely to be admitted: you and I might have thought that they were too bad to be saved. But He who built the gate did not refuse them. As soon as they knocked — He gave orders that they should be let in.

Manasseh, the wicked King of Judah, went up to this gate. None could have been worse than he. He had despised his good father Hezekiah’s example and advice. He had bowed down to idols. He had filled Jerusalem with bloodshed and cruelty. He had slain his own children. But as soon as his eyes were opened to his sins, and he fled to the gate for pardon — the gate flew wide open, and he was saved.

Saul the Pharisee went up to this gate. He had been a great offender. He had been a blasphemer of Christ, and a persecutor of Christ’s people. He had labored hard to stop the progress of the Gospel. But as soon as his heart was touched, and he found out his own guilt and fled to the gate for pardon — at once the gate flew wide open, and he was saved.

Many of the Jews who crucified our Lord went up to this gate. They had been grievous sinners indeed. They had refused and rejected their own Messiah. They had delivered Him to Pilate, and entreated that He might be slain. They had desired Barabbas to be released, and the Son of God to be crucified. But in the day when they were pricked to the heart by Peter’s preaching — they fled to the gate for pardon, and at once the gate flew open, and they were saved.

The jailer at Philippi went up to this gate. He had been a cruel, hard, godless man. He had done all in his power to ill-treat Paul and his companion. He had thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. But when his conscience was aroused by the earthquake, and his mind enlightened by Paul’s teaching — he fled to the gate for pardon, and at once the gate flew open, and he was saved.

But why need I stop short in Bible examples? Multitudes have gone to “the narrow gate “since the days of the Apostles, and have entered in by it and been saved! Thousands of all ranks, classes, and ages — learned and unlearned, rich and poor, old and young — have tried the gate and found it ready to open — have gone through it and found peace to their souls. Yes, thousands of people yet living have made proof of the gate, and found it the way to real happiness. Noble-men and commoners, merchants and bankers, soldiers and sailors, farmers and tradesmen, laborers and workmen, are still upon earth, who have found the narrow gate to be “a way of pleasantness and a path of peace.” They have found Christ’s yoke to be easy, and His burden to be light. Their only regret has been that so few enter in, and that they themselves did not enter in before.

This is the gate which I want every one to enter, into whose hand this paper may fall. I want you not merely to go to church or chapel — but to go with heart and soul to the gate of life. I want you not merely to believe there is such a gate, and to think it a good thing — but to enter by faith and be saved.

Think what a privilege it is to have a gate at all. The angels, who kept not their first estate fell, never to rise again. To them there was no door of escape opened. The heathen never heard of any way to eternal life. What would not many a black man and many a red man give, if he only heard one plain sermon about Christ? The Jews in Old Testament times only saw the gate dimly and far away. “The way into the holiest was not made manifest, while the first tabernacle was standing.” (Hebrews 9:8.)

But you have the gate set plainly before you — you have Christ and full salvation offered to you, without money and without price. You never need be at a loss which way to turn. Oh, consider what a mercy this is! Beware that you do not despise the gate and perish in unbelief! Better a thousand times not to know of the gate — than to know of it and yet tarry outside! How indeed will you escape — if you neglect so great salvation?

Think what a thankful man you ought to be if you have really gone in at the narrow gate. To be a pardoned, forgiven, justified soul — to be ready for sickness, death, judgment and eternity — to be ever provided for in both worlds — surely this is matter for daily praise. True Christians ought to be more full of thanksgivings than they are. I fear that few sufficiently remember what they were by nature, and what debtors to grace they are. Singing hymns of praise, was one special mark of the early Christians. Well would it be for Christians in the present day, if they knew more of this frame of mind. It is no mark of a healthy state of soul, when there is much complaining and little praise. It is an amazing mercy that there is any gate of salvation at all; but it is a still greater mercy when we are taught to enter in by it and be saved.

J.C. Ryle



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