Please close the door behind you

“Please close the door behind you.” What a final statement that is. The interview’s over. There’s no more to be said. You walk to the door, open it, walk through and close it behind you with a click, leaving behind whatever happened inside the room forever. But it’s the closing of the door that seals it. It’s like an impenetrable barrier to the past. There’s no going back.

And that’s exactly what Jesus’ death accomplished for us. It closed the door. Whatever happened in our lives before that moment was sealed behind that door of his death, never to be seen again. So when Paul said that Jesus “set me free from the law of sin and death,” Romans 8:2, he meant completely free. The door had closed on sin and death. Sin and death were on the other side of the door, left inside the room, and Paul could walk away from them never to see them again. Sin would still be a powerful influence in his life, yes, but never again could it kill him because Jesus had taken the death penalty of sin on himself.

That wasn’t all Jesus’ death closed the door on, either. Up to the time of closing the door, Paul “lived according to the sinful nature,” verse 5, meaning his mind was completely controlled by it. He had no choice in what he did, he simply did whatever his sinful mind wanted to do, the result being, he was “hostile to God,” verse 7, he didn’t want to obey God’s law, and he couldn’t please God, verse 8. But he could close the door on that too, because Jesus “condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit,” verses 3-4.

So that’s two things – the power of sin to kill him and the power of sin to control him – that Paul could close the door on. They could throw themselves at the door like rabid monsters in a horror movie, but the door would stay firm in its frame. From now on, verse 9, Paul would be under the complete and wonderful control of the Spirit, full of “life and peace,” verse 6, and never again would he be controlled by his sinful nature. Because once that door closed, that was it, Jesus’ death was an impenetrable barrier to the past.

I imagine Jesus saying to Paul, then, “You just leave those two monsters with me. Now go, and please close the door behind you.”

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