Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold, by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:1-3
The sheepfold is obviously a reference to salvation and the only way into salvation is through Jesus who is the door. Have you ever wondered about the wonderful gift of salvation made possible through grace that reconciles us to the Father? We may enter in only through Jesus and His blood spilled at Calvary as a substitutionary death that expunges all our sins, failures and guilt.
Jesus lived the sinless life that I don’t. As the second Adam Jesus had a sinless nature, as did Adam before the fall. But where Adam gave into temptation and fell even though he was perfect, Jesus did not fall. Instead He lived His life in harmony with the Father’s will and overcame all temptations that were more intense and deep than anything we could ever experience.
The problem that some Christians have is they believe that Jesus had the post fall nature of Adam and thus Jesus came to show us that we can overcome sin through absolute obedience just as Jesus did. But this is not what the Gospel is about. If Jesus had taken on the post fall nature of Adam He would have a sinful nature and need a Saviour. Can God really have a sinful nature? It is beyond imagination and one of the great deceptions of Satan.
When we come to the foot of the cross it is not because we believe in cheap grace or want to live our lives without direction and in rebellion to God. We come to the foot of the cross because that is where Jesus would have us. When we understand that we are saved by grace and there is nothing that we can do or add to that wonderful gift of God we will be driven to our knees with broken hearts because of how far short we fall from God’s will for us. We cry out, Holy, Holy, Holy, in repentance and forgiveness flows down to us from the throne of Heaven.
God says that He cannot live in the presence of sin and therefore, as we are sinners and condemned by our sinful natures, we are excluded from God’s presence. There is no way for us to work our way back to God because our actions, thoughts and deeds are at odds with the perfection of God’s holiness. Our only hope is grace. God, who is both just and merciful, comes to our rescue through the perfect sacrifice of the perfect Lamb (Jesus) who is spotless and perfect. Jesus lived the perfect life in thought and deed that I can’t. And He offers us that perfection through Him, the door into the sheepfold. When we accept His perfect life we are declared righteous by the Father because He sees Jesus and not our sinful filthy rags of a nature.
But, what about the penalty for sin? Yes Jesus takes care of that as well for by dying on Calvary’s cross He took my sins that I may be declared spotless and redeemed. So at the cross the perfect life that is required of me to enter Heaven is attributed to me, the penalty for sin and guilt is taken care of through Jesus perfect sacrifice. No wonder this is the good news that makes the Heavens ring with joy and wonder! You and I cannot even imagine how wonderful and big and gracious and loving God really is.
But some people don’t want to believe the good news. Notice in our text John says some try to climb in another way and those are robbers and thieves. Legalism, traditionalism and works based theology are these thieves and robbers who try to enter into salvation through their own efforts. They try to climb in or sneak in not trusting the gatekeeper. These are the people who don’t believe the merits of Jesus are sufficient and so they take it upon themselves to go into the sheepfold another way other than through the grace of Jesus. How sad to see people striving, working and agonizing over their relationship with God when a door stands open for all who would enter.
Maybe the problem for some people is that they don’t hear the voice of the shepherd that calls them by name. They are so busy doing things, proving themselves and worrying about their redemption that they don’t hear God knocking on the door of their heart (Rev. 3:20) so they never open the door and let Him in.
My prayer is that everyone reading this blog has absolute assurance that they are saved by the grace of God and it is not through their works. Our life that bears fruit is the result of grace and not a contribution to it.
Think about the following verses as you go about your business today and ask yourself where you stand in light of the grace of God.
“The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:9-12
What a privilege to be called “children of God” by the will of God.
* Please remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are subjected to persecution for their faith in Christ our Lord and Saviour. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for more on the persecuted church