““Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it…… A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire…….. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock……..When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed by his teaching, because he taught them like one who had authority, not like they’re experts in the law.” Matthew 7:13-14, 18-19, 21, 24, 28-29 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/mat.7.13-29.NET
If someone asked most Christians how a person can get to heaven, they would ask them to pray to God, ask His forgiveness for sins, and ask Jesus to enter their lives. Believing God will hear their prayers, He will then save their souls. There is a modicum of truth, but it is not all the truth. Jesus never equates His ministry with calling people to a simple prayer for salvation. Jesus, God incarnate, calls people to Himself, to obedience to His ways by following Him in the ministry of self-denial, take up your cross, and selfless service to the will of God, go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything in My Name. Jesus, God Himself, warns that few are truly on the road to heaven. It is a difficult road because it is the road of self-denial, choosing to do the will and work of God over our selfish ambitions. Even some who say they are Jesus’ followers will miss the Kingdom of God, for their fruit and obedience were lacking. The narrow way is described as bearing fruit, leading people to faith and greater faith in Jesus, and obedience to His word. Jesus’ word is God’s word. It would be blasphemy and heresy were we to believe otherwise. We are commanded to teach obedience to His word even as we are told to obey His word to prove our love for God to the world. A prayer begins a relationship with God that must continue to grow in surrender and service to the person and will of Jesus, Who is Savior and Lord over all in heaven and on earth and under the earth.