Q. I look forward to your daily messages. Your explanations really add depth to my knowledge of the Bible. Could you explain how one might reconcile Matthew 7:13-14 [the narrow gate & the wide gate] with Acts 16:31 [Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.]? Isn’t belief in Jesus Christ the only criterion necessary for salvation?
A. By looking at all the New Testament has to say about salvation, the most reasonable interpretation of Matt. 7:13-14 is that the small gate and narrow road refers to being saved by grace through faith in the completed work of the Lord and nothing else.
Man’s tendency is to supplement what the Lord has done by adding various kinds of religious works into the salvation equation. Some believe these works are necessary to complete the work of our salvation while others say they are only necessary to maintain it. But either way they deny the sufficiency of the Lord’s death and put themselves on the broad road with the wide gate. Therefore there is no conflict between Matt. 7:13-14 and Acts 16:31.
When they asked the Lord what is the work God requires of us, Jesus replied, “The work of God is this, to believe in the one He sent” (John 6:28-29). This simple statement is confirmed over and over in the New Testament.