Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.
The passage below shows the words from verse 13 through 14 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (3 Nephi 14:13-14)
-What is the strait gate that the Savior is referring to in these verses?
-Is the life Christ refers to (in verse 14), eternal life?
-Does the broad gate spoken of in these verses refer to following the inclinations of what the Book of Mormon refers to as the “natural man”?
Ammon, a Nephite missionary, teaches that the deepest spiritual truths can only be known after a person awakes to, and acts on, the absolute necessity of relying on Jesus Christ to cross over the abyss of spiritual death and obtain salvation.
“…In his great mercy [Christ] hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls. And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.” (Alma 26:21)
-What brings a person face to face with the reality of spiritual death within him- or herself?
-How difficult is it to face the reality of spiritual death within oneself and then seek to reconcile oneself to God? How tenaciously does the “ego” within a person often fight this process?
King Benjamin teaches that the default path of least resistance in life (e.g. letting genetics and the weight of a materialistic worldview have full sway in one’s life) sets a soul in opposition to God. But, there is a remedy…
“…The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19)
-How easy is it to yield to the enticement of the Holy Spirit and overcome the natural man?
-Does overcoming the natural man occur suddenly? Or, is it usually a gradual process?