"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." John 10:9.
The occasion on which our blessed Lord brought out this wonderful truth was that of opening the eyes of one who had been born blind, as recorded in the preceding chapter, where we find he was cast out of the synagogue because of his confession of Christ. This was a great offence, and still nothing is more offensive to proud man than a true and hearty confession of the Lord Jesus. The apostle's word is not less true now than it was then, that "they who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
The Lord had met the man who had been cast out, and blessedly revealed Himself to him. Then the Lord turned the conversation to that of spiritual blindness, so that some of the Pharisees, deeply roused by what they had heard, asked Him, "Are we blind also?" For Jesus had said, "For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." A very important testimony; for if a man takes the place of being blind, God is able to make him see; but if he says, I see, and have always been able to discern the things of God, he will have to learn, sooner or later, that he is and always has been blind. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God . . . . neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14.)
This searching testimony of our Lord, as I have observed, so sorely touched the Pharisees, that they said, "Are we blind also?" They felt, doubtless, that they had all the learning of the day, and were the most intelligent people as to Scripture knowledge. Is it possible, then, that such as they could be blind? What was our Lord's reply? "Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." That is, if they had really known their dark condition, and taken the place of being spiritually blind before God, they would have known God's grace and power to forgive their sins; but saying "We see" implied self-complacency, and the absence of felt need; and it is the sick who need the physician. There must be a sense of blindness for any to desire their eyes to be opened; a sense of guilt to lead any one to desire forgiveness. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The Lord is still speaking to the Pharisees in the tenth chapter. They not only professed to see, but to guide and shepherd God's sheep. The question is, How came they thus in the place of shepherds? Had they a Divine or human qualification? Had they gone in by the door? for if they had climbed up some other way, they were only thieves and robbers. A very solemn, searching announcement. The true Shepherd enters by the door; the porter opens to Him; the sheep hear His voice; they are His own sheep, and He leadeth them out. Yes, He leads them out from former ways and associations; outside everything that dishonours God — outside the path of sight, because into the path of faith and love.
The blessed Lord, the true and good Shepherd, declares that He is the door, the only way of access to God, the ONLY door, for any who desire salvation. He said, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Thus we see that Jesus not only sought to convict these Pharisees of their blindness and falseness, but throws wide open the door to any who had a desire to enter in. There was not a soul who heard Christ's ministry that could go away and say, "There is no salvation for me;" for Jesus said, "By me if any man" — no matter who he is — "if any man enter in, he shall be saved." How simple this is! A door is not a long, dreary passage. A person only takes a single step to enter a door. My unconverted readers, you are outside the door. It is simply entering into God's presence through Jesus Christ His Son, who was crucified for sinners, but is now at God's right hand, and you are saved, and saved for ever. It is "by ME," said Jesus, not by feelings, nor by experiences, nor by good resolutions, nor even by good works, but by Christ. "By ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Oh the blessedness of having the Lord's authority for the assertion, that those of us who have entered into God's presence by Christ are saved! Can anything be more simple? I remember hearing of a poor sick woman, who was told by some ladies who visited her, that Jesus was the door into God's presence, and that there was no other way, and that all who entered in by Him were saved. She replied, "May I enter in in that way?" She was told, "Yes." "Then why not now?" said she; and, turning on her side, she simply looked up toward heaven, and taking God at His word, entered in by Jesus, and was filled with joy and peace.
Mark again, I say, the simplicity and the preciousness of the words, "By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." It is no use saying you are too great a sinner, too old, too young, or anything else; it is, "if any man." God is no respecter of persons. All have sinned. Every man is guilty before God. He that believeth not is condemned already. Now it is true that, if any man enter in by Christ, he will be saved; but in a little while it will be said, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed when the Lord cometh." Now, "whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life;" but by and by, whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
Have you known, dear reader, what it is to receive this great salvation? Have you entered in by the door? Do you know what it is to find yourself in God's presence, through the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ? A believer is one who has accepted Christ for his Saviour, who has entered in through the door. A person may know that Christ is the door, and yet have never entered in. This is the difference between knowledge and faith. Faith takes Christ simply at His word, and enters in. "By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." This is the testimony of Jesus. Is there any room for doubt or fear, when you know that you have entered in by Christ? Surely He delights to save. He casts out none that come to Him. Resting on His word, we have perfect peace; we find ourselves at rest in God's presence.
The posture that Jesus now takes toward a guilty world is that of Saviour, but in a little while it will be that of Judge. How, then, can any escape who neglect this great salvation? He will judge both the living and the dead; but now He is calling, in richest love and mercy, to sinners to enter in and be saved. His arms are still thrown wide open. His almighty power is still snatching brands from the burning. He yet calls in tenderest love, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." All He asks of you is to "Come." He wants nothing more of you than to submit to be wholly saved by Him; to "enter in" on the ground of an already accomplished redemption; to "refuse not Him that speaketh," but to rest in His finished work. Can you, will you, any longer, then, be taken up with the unsatisfying pleasures of sin, and by your own hand of unbelief close this only door of escape from the wrath to come?
Thank God, the door is still wide open, and Christ saves to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him; but soon the door will be shut. Many will knock then, but the door is closed upon them for ever. Many will be in earnest about their eternal welfare then, but it will be too late. In their anxiety for a mess of pottage, they counted eternal blessings unworthy of their interest; but now they feel themselves close on the precipice of outer darkness and despair, their distress is awakened, and never to be relieved; they knock, and call, and shriek, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But the reply from within, "I know you not," will for ever plunge them into the despondency of an eternal gloom. Oh, once more, think of those sweet words of Jesus, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved!"