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March 21, 2019
Jesus Swings the Gate Open (3 of 5)
There are two posts on either side of the gate. While the latch keeps the gate shut, the post on the left allows the gate to swing open. This post is God’s love. Without it, the gate could never swing open. With his love, opening of the gate becomes a possibility.
Jesus is the right post, and bolted into it is the latch that holds the gate shut. The wonderful news of the gospel is that our loving God sent his Son Jesus so the latch can be undone and the gate swing open.
As I said earlier, the consequence of a broken relationship with God is separation, and the ultimate consequence of separation is physical and spiritual death. Our death is the penalty for our sin, the appropriate punishment for our thoughts and actions that run contrary to the righteous character of God, which in turn shuts the gate.
But when Jesus died, he had never sinned. He had never been separated from God. His death was not the penalty, the payment, for his own sin. In a sense, it was like God had Jesus’ death but no sin to apply it to. So because God is great in his mercy and love, he took Jesus’ death and applied it to our sins. The death our sins deserved was paid for by Jesus’ death. In this sense, Jesus’ death “paid” the penalty for our sins, the latch is unlocked, and the gate can swing open.
There is only one way to get to Coyote Rock. If you take the Frater Lake loop, you will never see the rock. You can believe that all trails lead to Coyote Rock, but the fact of the matter is that only one hike gets you there, and that is the Coyote Rock loop. Likewise, there are many spiritual walks, but there is only one gate that leads to the one difficult path and eventually to eternal life.
The message of the gospel is that Jesus, and Jesus alone, did something about our sin and separation from God. Jesus swings the gate open that leads to life. This is why Jesus says of himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
In the verse we have been discussing, John 3:16, the writer says that “God sent his one and only Son.” There is one and only one Son of God, who is himself fully God. There is only one person who has done something about sin, and therefore there is one and only one gate that leads to life.
It’s not that followers of Jesus are arrogant or narrow-minded; it’s just the truth. No one has ever done anything about sin except Jesus, and therefore his gate and his gate alone leads to a relationship with God, and to true and eternal life.
Peter, another leader of the early church, said these words in one of his first sermons. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God gave his “one and only” Son.
The remaining question is, has the gate swung open for you and have you walked through?
- How do you picture the two posts, God and Jesus? How do you visualize the latch being undone and the gate swinging open?
- How will you explain to someone else that Jesus’ death paid the penalty of your sins? How is that possible?
- Share with others the different things you have heard about all roads leading to heaven. How would you now respond to these various statements? How would you explain to them that Christians are not narrow-minded?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).