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How Wide Is the Door?

“I am the door.” John 10:9

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, situated over the spot where tradition says the baby Jesus was born, draws thousands of tourists every year. Another feature of the edifice, however, “The Door of Humility”, elicits nearly as much interest from visitors as does the silver star where Mary supposedly delivered her baby. Originally, the door was built as a normally sized entrance into the church building. The Ottomans, during their time of occupation, walled up a major portion of the opening, leaving only a small doorway. They did so to prevent looters from taking carts in and out, and to make worshippers dismount and bend low to enter the church in a forced show of humility. The first doorway may still be seen in an arch above the remodeled door.

When it comes to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, no one has the authority to make the door any bigger than what the Founder made it. Indeed, Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” Matthew 7:13. The doctrinal truths that govern the entrance into the church are as valid and necessary today as when they were articulated by the Apostles. The church was built to require the same faith, the same obedience and the same commitment from every supplicant. Some want to enlarge the opening to the church so that unbelievers and sinners can come in without so much as shedding one remorseful tear or embracing a single tenet of faith.

By the same token, neither does anyone have the authority to reduce the entrance of the church down to exclude “undesirables”, to impose some form of discrimination or to require compliance with some privately-held belief. Some are so far removed from their own point of entry into the church that they view newcomers with suspicion and condemnation. They forgot that they were dug from the same pit.

We must not make the door too small to obey the words of Jesus: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. “Go ye therefore, and teach all na­tions.” Matthew 28:18.

We must not make the door too small to welcome the least among us. Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” Luke 14:21.

We must not make the door so small that we contradict the intent of God. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17.

We must not make the door so small that we mismanage the purpose of the church. “To wit, that God was in Christ, re­con­ciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath com­mitted unto us the word of recon­ciliation. “Now then we are ambas­sadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:18-20.

We conclude that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” There­fore, those who have not been deliv­ered from sin are “poor, maimed, halt and blind.” In today’s vocabulary, we may de­fine them as dysfunctional, addictive, im­balanced, co-dependant, or suffering from emotional, psychologi­cal or social problems. They may be lonely, rejec­ted or guilt-ridden. They may be outwardly successful, but inwardly troubled. The key concept is that people in sin are people in pain. Without a cure, these people will die an eternal death. From farmers to factory workers, from doctors to attorneys, from mechanics to insurance agents, from black to white, from atheists to pagans, the door to the church must be big enough to take them all. Whoever, wherever, whatever a person may be, they can be saved!

Jesus Christ came to rid each believer of his sin, relieve him of the pain caused by sin, and recreate him in the image of God and give him everlasting life. He did not come so man could merely exchange one pain for another. He did not come to establish another religion in a world already glutted with reli­gion. He did not come to simply identify sin and preach condem­nation. He came to save. “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Salvation is, above all else, God’s plan to restore man to a right relationship with Himself. We, as the church, are Christ’s ambas­sadors to this world, recon­ciling it to God.

Jesus is The Door. The dimensions of his grace have never changed. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8.


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Reader Comments (1)

Powerfully written!

This stood out to me: "Some want to enlarge the opening to the church so that unbelievers and sinners can come in without so much as shedding one remorseful tear or embracing a single tenet of faith."

James 4:8-10.

If we think there is nothing wrong with us, we have no need for repentance! But if we truly see the error in us, then how can it not pierce us?

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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