Matt 7:13-14 (ESV) says:
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.
Matt 7:13-14 (NLT) says:
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
My question is very specific and very narrow (no pun intended): what does "it" in "those who find it are few" refer to. Does "it" refer to:
- The gate,
- God's Kingdom,
- way, or
Insights from the original Greek grammatical analysis is very welcome.
Related questions to sharpen the choice:
If it is the "gate", does it refer to the beginning of the salvation journey (during our lifetime) or the end (judgment day)?
Is it right to interpret the "the way is hard" as our sanctification journey, which implies that "hard" refers to the great risk of failing (apostatizing or giving up)? If that is so, is it right to interpret "scarcely saved" in 1 Pet 4:18 as that great risk of denouncing one's faith because of the incurred suffering in carrying Jesus's cross?
Which is the meaning of "narrow"?
Meaning Analogy Example Faith Reference Example difficulty of finding the START of the journey looking for a needle having the true gospel preached to you is rare (ex. someone in communist China) difficulty in making the decision to start the journey laziness / procrastinate already understand the gospel, but like St. Augustine says "Lord, make me chaste—but not yet." perceived/actual difficulty of the journey treacherous and winding road carrying the cross incurs being persecuted by your family/friends, making it easy to give up difficulty of staying in the journey a lot of easy "exit ramps" to cross over to the wide road many temptation from the world making it very easy to fall away from faith / backslide ambiguity of the choice/way hard to make the right choice or easy to get lost in the way true Christianity is hard to discern, great risk of false teacher leading one to the wrong gospel or wrong religion eligibility of entering the journey entering Harvard need to renounce the many illicit pleasures of the world to genuinely declare faith in Jesus eligibility of entering heaven graduating Harvard self deception / cultural Christian getting "reality check", cf. Matt 7:21-23 specificity of the choice only 1 out of 100 keys you already have in your hand can open the door only Christianity can save you, cf. John 14:6