The fundamental and decisive difference that makes Jesus the door is in this statement of fact: “I lay down my life for the sheep.” The cross makes the difference. Trying to get to God and salvation by self-striving presumes that the door to God is open from the side of man. The fact is that it isn’t. It is shut by the fact of our sin—every man’s sin. “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The door is not open from our side at all. It is open only from God’s side.
It is only open from His side provided He makes atonement for our sins by “bearing in His own body our sins upon a tree”—by becoming “sin for us.”
A man in India had a dream in which Kali, a Hindu goddess, said to him, “Unless you sacrifice your son to me I’ll destroy your whole family.” He did just that and was brought up before an Indian court for murder. He was given two years, a light sentence, for he did it for religious motives. Kali demanded blood from her devotees. Those who try to win favor with God by offering their good deeds or by their devotions and sacrifices are worshiping a refined version of Kali as God. “I’d better go to church, or God will bop me,” said a young man and said it seriously, offering churchgoing as a sacrifice to God. God demands atonement.
In Jesus, God is offering atonement, not demanding it. “I lay down my life—I don’t demand yours.” The door is opened from God’s side, not ours. A nail-pierced hand opens it. We are saved by God’s grace, not by our good works. A Hindu said: “The difference between Christianity and Hinduism is this: we have to climb the ladder of austerity to get to Brahma. He doesn’t lift his finger to help us. In Christianity, God comes to the bottom-most rung at cost, the cost of a cross, to help us up to the topmost rung. The difference is decisive.” It is.
My Father, I can love and give myself absolutely to a God like Thee. Thou hast given Thy heart, so I give mine. Thou didst give all, so I give all. And now Thy all is open to my taking. I do take. Amen.
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY
I do not advance toward God—I advance in willingness—willingness to accept His advance.
Confused about last week’s entry? Read this article clarifying the matter of the destiny of the unevangelized.