Rev. Heys is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out,and find pasture.
No matter who we are and where we live, physical death will sooner or later come upon us. It may come unexpectedly by what is called an accident. It usually comes because organs of the body wear out and cannot function anymore, causing the heart to stop its beating.
However, as believing children of God we have the comforting truth which our Savior gives to us in the verse quoted above. Through the apostle John, our Savior Jesus Christ presents Himself as the door through which our souls enter into the blessed life of His kingdom of heaven.
This He told the Pharisees who had questioned His words, and had sarcastically asked Him whether He considered them to be blind. For Christ Jesus had caused a blind man to see all the things that were round about him. To him our Savior said: “For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see not might see; and they which see might be made blind” (John 9:39).
Those Pharisees were moved to ask our Savior, “Are we blind?” That was a sarcastic question put to our Savior, who had said that He is the door of the sheepfold. And in response Jesus declared that they were thieves and robbers who were spiritually blind. What we must bear in mind is the fact that we live in a world wherein there are many churches that have spiritual leaders who are thieves and robbers and are spiritually blind.
Today there are many spiritual thieves and robbers who vigorously fight to steal away the truth which our Savior implanted in other churches. Today, in some churches, those who call themselves Christians definitely are antichristian. Not only by their teaching but also by their walk of life they manifest themselves to be antichristian. This is so very evident today, not only by the false doctrines they maintain, but also by the walk of life they defend. Therefore we do well to consider this truth that Christ is the door that keeps all of the elect safe, enabling them to go in and out and find fruitful pasture. Let us also then bear in mind that Satan, hating Christ, also hates all who believe in Christ as their Savior. Our calling is to agree with Christ Jesus that He is the door that keeps us safe from the thieves and robbers that are in the church world.
Still more, let us keep before our minds every Sabbath day that Satan is trying through so many things and people, and by all means through their preaching, to turn us away from Christ as our Savior. Satan works hard in his way to get us concerned only with a salvation from what hurts our flesh; and he strives to get us concerned only about salvation from punishment, not from sin itself. Christ, however, is not the door through which Satan wants us to go, except for deliverance from the punishment which we deserve.
Now our God, the day Adam and Eve fell into sin and died spiritually, presented salvation as enmity against Satan and all that he does and wants us to do. Our calling is to be thankful for that work of God’s grace whereby He makes us able to walk in love towards Himself.
We do well therefore to bear in mind that Christ Jesus is the door, through which all the elect enter into the holy kingdom of heaven. Now the door through which the elect enter is Christ Jesus, who lets His elect enter but also enables them to do so.
However, we do not open that door into the kingdom of heaven. With our souls we have the blessing of being made able and willing to enter the kingdom of heaven; and Christ Jesus is that door. He opens the way for us to be saved from Satan and sin, and to be made able and willing to serve Him in love. As the text states, we shall be saved so that we shall go in and out and find pasture.
Now let us bear in mind that sheep have enemies who want to steal them, or even to kill them. The thieves and robbers want to steal them, and profit by selling them to others, while the wolves want to eat them, and benefit themselves in that way. Both of these, the wolves and the thieves and robbers, make it very necessary that we, as sheep of Christ, the Almighty Shepherd, are kept safe.
Our salvation has two basic elements which we should appreciate and believe by God’s grace. We are by that grace protected, being brought where these wolves, thieves, and robbers cannot steal us away from Christ our Good Shepherd. But likewise we should appreciate the blessed fact that our Savior feeds us with the bread of life, which we need spiritually, Christ, as the Door, protects us, keeping us safe when Satan tries to capture us by those who believe false doctrines, and merely want earthly advantages rather than heavenly communion with God.
But Christ Jesus, the Door, opens up for us the way to be fed with the. Bread of Life. Knowing this and enjoying it we can and will sing, enthusiastically and spiritually, what we find presented in Psalm 23, and sung from our Psalter number 55 in these words:
The Lord my Shepherd holds me
Within His tender care,
And with His flock He folds me,
No want shall find me there.
In pastures green He feeds me,
With plenty I am blest;
By quiet streams He leads me
And makes me safely rest.
The sad thing, however, is that our Savior is presented by some as a door which we open. The Arminian lie is that Christ wants to be the door, and will be so if we let Him serve us that way. There is much false preaching that claims that Jesus offers us salvation, and realizes it, if we let Him be such for us. But we do well to take note here that He presents Himself here as the Door, not as a possible door that serves us when we let Him do so, while many whom He wants to let in do not let Him do so. But the text states that He is the Door. He not only desires to open the way for us to blessings, He does do so by causing every one of His elect to want it.
We are saved from the evil, devilish love of sin into which Satan led Adam and Eve, and thus the whole human race. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Christ does not try to make us desire salvation. As our Savior He makes us desire salvation, and we owe Him thanks for that desire as well as for all the rest of that salvation.
What is more, here in the verse quoted at the beginning of this meditation, our Savior says, “By me if any man enter, he shall be saved.” We do not save ourselves from the punishment which we deserve. Christ does that. We do not save ourselves from that carnal nature wherewith we were born. And we do not want salvation until God fulfills His promise and puts enmity in our hearts against Satan. Christ does not merely save us from the punishment which we deserve, He saves us from our love of sin, making us want to walk in love toward God.
We do well also by taking note of the fact that our Savior tells us that we shall be saved. First of all, we need the desire to be saved from our sinful nature wherewith we were born. To get salvation we need to have been already saved in our hearts by the desire, which He already worked in us. He already caused us to believe that Christ is the Door that makes us safe, free from Satan’s devilish desire for us to walk in sin.
As surely as we have no power to save our physical lives from death, we have no power to change our hearts and minds into the desire to be saved from spiritual death. As we so sing correctly from thePsalter, number 383: “All that I am I owe to Thee. Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.”
Those Pharisees that asked Jesus whether they were blind revealed their blindness. They did not see their spiritual blindness and did not desire and trust in Christ as Savior. Every day we need Christ as the Door that opens and lets us enter salvation, as a gift of His grace.
The evidence of our spiritual rebirth is that we thank God for every bit of our salvation, including the desire for it. Desiring salvation reveals that God has already begun it in us. And let us not believe or teach the lie that Christ will save us if we already saved ourselves from the carnal desire wherewith we were born. Let us rather sing humbly but joyfully that Christ, the Door, made our salvation possible, and began it in us.
By God’s grace we will confess His Son to be the Door through which He brings us out of our love of sin, and into love of Himself; and He has made us able to be citizens that love Him.
Sing then the truth that He is the Door which gives to our souls the desire to serve and glorify God, by giving all the credit of our salvation to God. For by His grace we will soon enter in and enjoy the blessed salvation wherein we shrill have covenant fellowship with God through Christ, and will enter into and enjoy salvation as His free and wonderful gift to us in His grace.
When saved we give all the credit of it to God, who eternally planned it and realized it in time. Call Christ the Door, and praise Him from whom all blessings flow.