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.