Todd Linn’s March Article in Indiana’s Courier Press Newspaper

Christians can get stuck in God’s door to salvation

By Todd Linn

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Years ago, when my boys were small, our family visited a local zoo. The most memorable event of this particular day was our difficulty getting into the zoo.

We entered in through a full-height turnstile, but then a very strange thing happened. After my wife and I passed through the turnstile, we heard my youngest son cry out.

Somehow, my oldest son had gone through the turnstile first and then moved the bars back behind himself in such a way as to trap his younger brother. Moving the bar forward would not release him, and it was impossible to move the bar backward.

I remember looking at my youngest son standing there in this small compartment in a state of utter hopelessness. He had come through the gate, but then got stuck inside this small place, a cagelike no man’s land from which he could not free himself.

I don’t remember how we got him out of that, but I think it involved his climbing up the turnstile cage and squeezing though a space at the top.

Most people know that the Gospel is the door to salvation. It is the door through which one enters to get into heaven and to avoid hell. For far too many Christians, however, the Gospel is only a door to salvation.

Too many have come through the door and, while initially enjoying the thought of eternal life in Christ, they get stuck in a life of bondage.

Because of recurring sins and private battles, these Christians know that God loves them but often wonder whether he really likes them. Their lives are marked by recurring feelings of guilt, condemnation and alienation from God. It’s as though these Christians have come through the right door but then got stuck in a small place and don’t know how to free themselves.

The Gospel applies not just at the point of entry, but at every point of Christian life. The atonement means Christ’s righteousness completely covers the Christian the way a large overcoat completely covers a body.

When a person becomes a Christian, God forever clothes that person with the righteousness of Christ so that sins are completely forgiven.

All sin — past, present and future — is covered forever by Christ’s righteousness.

Thus, while Christians battle sin every day and rightly grieve their frequent failures, they need not worry whether God accepts them. Someone has rightly said God accepts Christians not on the basis of their personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.

This is the truth God has given to set us free (John 8:32). By the power of the Gospel, we are freed from the bondage of guilt and condemnation and empowered to obey and serve God.

In the words of John Bunyan:

“Run, John, run, the law commands

“But gives us neither feet nor hands,

“Far better news the gospel brings:

“It bids us fly and gives us wings.”

The Rev. Todd Linn is pastor of First Baptist Church in Henderson, Ky.

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4 Responses to Todd Linn’s March Article in Indiana’s Courier Press Newspaper

  1. John says:

    May I ask where did you find this quote from Bunyan? The reason I ask is by providence I’m actually reading a puritan paperback on Prayer written by Bunyan and really like this quote as it is true the law doesn’t save,but is a schoolmaster which points us to Christ who is the only hope of redemption and forgiveness of sins.

  2. Rick says:

    Hi Pastor Todd,
    I enjoyed reading your article. One thing did catch my attention in reading it and that was the way salvation was described. It was almost as if you are saying one could not lose their salvation. Is that what is meant by sins being forgiven past, present and future? If so, could you help me understand this view of salvation a little bit more? This is not what the Church I attend teaches. If this is not the proper format then maybe we could converse over email? I appreciate your time.

    • Todd Linn says:

      Hello, Rick.
      Thanks for your comments and for your excellent question. If okay with you, let’s continue this dialogue via email. Mine is toddlinn@me.com. Having said that, I will be going out of the country in the morning and will not be available for about a week. In the meantime, I wonder if you might be interested in reading a small paperback book on the gospel. It’s one of my favorites and I highly recommend it. Can I send you a copy? I realize you may not receive this reply before my leaving in the morning, but if I hear from you before I take off tomorrow I can mail you a copy for free. Just give me your mailing address and I’ll put it in today’s mail before I go. If you’d rather not provide your mailing address, I completely understand, but would still highly recommend the book which you can find in most Christian bookstores or online. It’s also available on Kindle if you like to read electronically. The book is by Jerry Bridges and it is called, “The Gospel for Real Life.” Rick, I think you will find this book a great help in addressing your question about salvation. Either way, I hope to continue the discussion. Hope to hear from you soon!

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