13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
This section of the Sermon on the Mount is a Gospel application. There are two gates, two ways, two destinations, and two groups of people, two kinds of trees, and two kinds of fruit, and two groups at the Judgment. Both the narrow gate and the wide gate are assumed to provide the entrance to God’s Kingdom. Two ways are offered to people. The narrow gate is by faith, only through Jesus Christ, constricted and precise. It represents true salvation in God’s way that leads to life eternal. The wide gate includes all religions of works and self-righteousness and idolatry, with no single way (Acts 4:12), but it leads to Hell, not Heaven.
Christ is drawing the line as clearly as possible between the way that leads to destruction and the way that leads to life.
Christ continually emphasized the difficulty of following Him (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24-25; John 15:18-19; John 16:1-3; Acts 14:22). Salvation is by grace alone, but is not easy. It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord, and a willingness to obey His will and Word. (Matthew 19:16-28).