The question of whether there are more people in heaven or hell is answered by Jesus Himself in one succinct passage: “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. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).
This passage tells us that only those who receive Jesus Christ and who believe in Him are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). As such, the gift of eternal life comes only through Jesus Christ to all those who believe. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It’s not through Mohammed, Buddha, or other false gods of man’s making. It’s not for those wanting a cheap and easy way to heaven while continuing to live their own selfish and worldly lives on earth. Jesus only saves those who fully trust in Him as Savior (Acts 4:12).
So, what are these two gates in Matthew 7:13–14? They are the entrance to two different “ways.” The wide gate leads to the broad way, or road. The small, narrow gate leads to the way that is narrow. The narrow way is the way of the godly, and the broad way is the way of the ungodly. The broad way is the easy way. It is attractive and self-indulgent. It is permissive. It’s the inclusive way of the world, with few rules, few restrictions, and fewer requirements. Tolerance of sin is the norm where God’s Word is not studied and His standards not followed. This way requires no spiritual maturity, no moral character, no commitment, and no sacrifice. It is the easy way of salvation, following “the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). It is that broad way that “seems right to a man, but end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Those who preach a gospel of inclusiveness where “all ways lead to heaven” preach an utterly different gospel than the one Jesus preached. The gate of self-centeredness, self-absorption, and a proud, holier-than-thou mindset is the wide gate of the world that leads to hell, not the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. As a result, most people spend their lives following the masses who are on the broad road, doing what everyone else does and believing what everyone else believes.
The narrow way is the hard way, the demanding way. It is the way of recognizing that you cannot save yourself and must depend on Jesus Christ alone to save you. It’s the way of self-denial and the cross. The fact that few find God’s way implies that it is to be sought diligently. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). No one will stumble into the kingdom or wander through the narrow gate by accident. Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” He replied, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23–24).
Many will seek to enter that narrow door, the door of salvation, but “will not be able.” They are unwilling to trust/rely on Jesus alone. They are unwilling to pay the price. It costs too much for them to give up the world. God’s gate is a gate through which one cannot carry the baggage of sin and self-will, nor can one carry the accoutrements of materialism. The way of Christ is the way of the cross, and the way of the cross is the way of self-denial. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23–24).
Jesus knows that many will choose the wide gate and the broad way that leads to destruction and hell. Correspondingly, He said that only a few will choose the narrow gate. According to Matthew 7:13–14, there is no doubt that more will go to hell than to heaven. The question for you is, then, on which road are you?