For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Romans 3:28
Years ago there was a teacher, a Christian professor at an English university. Normally enthusiastic in his worship, one Sunday he found himself standing before his church, reluctant to go in. The events of the previous week had driven a wedge of separation between him and the Lord. As he stood debating about what he should do, he saw a young lady start up the steps of the church. He saw her stop, turn around and run, crying, away from the church doors. Quickly he went to her side and said, “Come on in, young lady. Jesus has opened the doors for sinners like us.”
For more than a quarter-of-a-century, I had the joy of serving as a parish pastor. During that time, I saw the scene above repeated again and again. No, it was not always a professor at an English university who hesitated to come into church. Nor was it always a young lady who brought them both into worship.
In truth, people believe they have a great many reasons to stay away from entering the doors of a church. They think there are almost as many reasons for them to stay away from the Christ. I’ve known strong men who felt they would appear less a man if they admitted their need for a Savior. I’ve seen teenagers who felt that Jesus was boring and they didn’t want to be branded a Jesus freak. I’ve met wives who thought they would be safer following the lead of an irreligious man in their lives. I’ve seen students who felt that acknowledging Jesus as Lord would be a sell-out of the academic community. Now I know that I may not have listed your reason, or that of someone who might be a close friend or family member of yours.
So large is the list of supposed reasons not to be a Christian, a person might readily wonder, “Why would anyone say, ‘Jesus is my Lord?’” Here’s the answer: “We are justified (made right) through faith alone.” If we want to be saved, and most of us do, we have to realize it will not be because we are strong or intellectual or part of an in crowd. We can be saved only through faith in Jesus Christ. True God, and true man, Jesus came into this world not only to open the doors of a church for us, but to open up the gates of heaven as well. Through His sacrifice repentant sinners like you and me can find forgiveness and our eternal future. Which is why I say, like the professor, “Come on in, my friends. Jesus has opened the doors for sinners like us.”
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached October 24, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious Lord, may the power of your Holy Spirit guide and direct me to serve you in your Kingdom today. Thank you for opening the door for me. Amen.