The souls in the beyond are to recognise that they are able to change their lot for the better.
In the parable of the good shepherd, Jesus made use of some simple and vivid images in order to clearly explain His mission and task (John 10: 1–6).
In addition to the image of the shepherd and the sheep, however, there is also the image of the door, which serves to illustrate Jesus Christ’s importance for salvation: a door provides access. Jesus is the door to God. Only He can grant access to salvation, because He is salvation. The words “I am the door” also make it clear that there are no other bringers of salvation!
A door leads from one space into another. Jesus leads out of the captivity of sin and into the liberty of the Spirit. He leads out of the condition of remoteness from God and into enduring fellowship with God.
An open door is an invitation to come in or go out. Jesus invites us to come out of our old convictions, false points of view, bitterness, disappointments, irreconcilability, and hatred.
Hardly any of Jesus’ contemporaries heeded His invitation to understand Him—or make use of Him—as the door to salvation. These words of Jesus—“I am the door”—not only apply to the living, but also to the souls in the beyond. But even there, it is not a matter of course that these souls will step through this door and into their salvation. What sorts of things might prevent this?
Unbelief. How many on this earth had to live in conditions that could not be changed. Now they are to believe that they can change the condition of their souls …
A lack of humbleness. Naaman had imagined the door to his aid would be quite different, and first had to swallow his pride in order to walk through it (2 Kings 5: 11–14).
Self-righteousness. The threshold of the door to the room of grace and redemption is called repentance and regret. It requires that we acknowledge our own shortcomings and imperfections.
As we can see, the experiences which human beings have made in their lives can be an obstacle for walking through the door. For this reason let us intercede in empathetic, loving, unbiased prayer for unredeemed souls, such that they may lose their fear of crossing the threshold and embarking on something new.
Through our intercessions we can also do our part to help these souls overcome such obstacles, so that they can take advantage of the divine offer of salvation.
Already on earth, many did not seek or accept help because they were afraid others would look down on them, marginalise them, or take no notice of them at all. The idea that someone else would even offer to help must al – ready seem quite foreign to many a soul! May our love touch them all!
The image of walking in and out and finding pasture figuratively describes the condition of being redeemed, as well as the condition of liberty and the divine abundance that is to be had in fellowship with Jesus Christ.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on Sunday, 21 June 2015 at Midrand Congregation in preparation for Departed Service.