Paul and Barnabas’s report to the church in Antioch on their return from their first missionary journey included the news that God ‘had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.’ (Acts 14:27) This news was one which caused many to rejoice and which ultimately causes all of us who are not Jewish to rejoice even now! The good news of the gospel is that God’s grace is available to us all and therefore His righteousness can be ours by faith: ‘But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.’ (Rom 3:21-25)
The door of faith is the only way we enter God’s kingdom. We can’t enter by our own righteousness or good works (Isaiah tells us our righteous acts are as filthy rags, Is 64:6); we can’t earn God’s favour or deserve His grace. We can only put on His righteousness instead of our own as we trust in all Jesus has done for us. Justification comes freely by God’s grace through the redemption provided by Jesus: ‘Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.’ (Rom 3:24, The Message)
Holman Hunt’s painting ‘The Light of the World’ pictures Jesus carrying a light, knocking on a door (based on Revelation 3:20 where Jesus is depicted as standing at the door and knocking.) It’s often been said that there is no handle on the outside of the door; the handle is on the inside, that only we can open that door to let Jesus in to our lives. That’s true, but it’s also true that God is the God who opens doors (and closes them – see Rev 3:7). He was the one who opened the door of faith to the Gentiles; what we now have to do is walk through that door into the fulness of life which God freely offers us.