Our purpose today is to show the course of the Christian life. For these two verses touch upon two great principles:
1) Entering in the Gate
2) Walking in the Way
To emphasize ether one of them to the exclusion of the other will result in an extreme. God puts before the Christian a gate and a way or a way and a gate in order to keep him in balance.
What is the meaning of entering the gate? To enter the gate is to pass through a crisis. Just as a gateway has a gate that stands against your progress, so passing through that gate means getting through to something you have never experienced before. No matter how thick the gate, it does not take five minutes to pass through it. As soon as a person passes through, he is immediately in a different environment. There is a vast difference between what is the scene before he passes through the door and what it is afterwards. Five minutes ago he was in one particular world and now he is in a different world. Formerly the person was outside the gate and currently he is within it. Entering the gate signifies that within a brief period of time there comes a tremendous difference. In that very short duration, a Christian passes through a crisis and his spiritual condition takes instantly a different turn.
A Christian has not only to go through a crisis; he has a way to walk along as well. The way is long and requires much time to walk along it. Does it take much time to enter the gate? Obviously, it can be passed through in swift order. Which, then, requires the longer time—to enter the gate or to walk in the way? Naturally, walking in the way requires more time. It becomes highly unbalanced if one enters the gate without taking any step along the way thereafter. After a Christian enters the gate, he must walk forward step by step. Walking in the way means to proceed gradually one step after another. To enter the gate he needs only one step, but to walk in the way cannot be done in just one step. Upon entering the gate therefore, the Christian immediately senses a distinctive change. He goes forward, perhaps a hundred steps or more, and then he may have to pass through another gate. Perhaps a thousand steps further, and still another crisis awaits him. A Christian must therefore be prepared to walk the way whenever he decides to enter a gate. Hence to enter a gate means to go through a crisis, while to walk in the way means to make progress.
We ought to know that on one hand we need to go through a crisis and on the other hand we need to proceed in the way. Entering the gate and walking in the way are two important principles of the bible. They must be equally stressed.
(Walking in the way is the preparation necessary for the next Gate or crisis), that’s way they are equally important to the Christian walk. - Pastor Howard
According to the word of God, in our spiritual course, entering the gate precedes walking in the way. First the crisis, then the progress. Yet this is the opposite of most any Earthly journey, for the latter usually calls for walking before entering. In the spiritual journey, however, that is not the case. You need to enter the gate first, and then advance along a lengthy pathway before you reach your destination. Since the bible always puts the gate and the way together, we may see them at work in both “faith” and “obedience” – two key principles in Christian life.