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In, Out, Through

One of the great statements that Jesus made regarding Himself was “I am the way” (John 14:6). I realize that Jesus was making that statement in a specific connection, in response to a question from Thomas; but in light of who Jesus was and is, and in light of all that the Bible teaches us about Him, it is also legitimate to apply that statement in other connections as well. I want to emphasize three applications of Christ’s statement, “I am the way.”

Jesus Is the Way Out

He is the way out of sin’s condemnation, bondage, and misery. In John 8:34 Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Jesus was speaking there of the person whose life is dominated by sin—in other words, the person who has not been born again. Jesus was saying that such a person is a servant—literally, a slave—of sin. Not only is he bound for eternal Hell when this life is over, but in the “here and now” he is a captive of his sinful nature. But when he meets God’s two conditions set forth in Acts 20:21, “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” he receives God’s gift of eternal life and is miraculously set free from that miserable captivity.

I have a friend who was once a drug addict, and also a pusher. His life was an absolute wreck. He tried and tried to kick his drug habit, but would go right back into the same old destructive lifestyle. For years he was under psychiatric care, but that didn’t work. He tried rehab, but to no avail. He made countless promises to himself, to family, and to friends that he would stop, but didn’t follow through. Nothing seemed to help.

Finally, in desperation, and with tears, he fell on his face before God and said, “Please help me.” He asked Jesus to come into his life, and his testimony is that at that very moment he was set free from his drug habit. He’s been clean for almost nineteen years now, and is an outstanding man of God. No telling how many people he has personally led to Christ. He has found from personal experience the truth of what Jesus said in John 8:36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” After having tried nearly everything else, he found Jesus to be the way out of his bondage.

Jesus Is the Way In

In reference to God having delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, here’s what Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:23: “He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He sware unto our fathers.”

He brought the Hebrews out of their tragic life in Egypt that He might bring them in to the land of promise. In like manner, when you surrender your life to Him, Jesus brings you out of sin’s bondage and misery and He brings you in to a new life—a life with wonderful possibilities, and with power available to help you realize those possibilities.

When you surrender your life to Christ, He gives you a new destiny—a home in Heaven, rather than Hell. He also gives you a new sense of direction—a new set of “want to’s”—and He gives you a new dynamic in your life, namely the indwelling Holy Spirit, to motivate and energize you as you move in that new direction. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be perfect, by any stretch of the imagination—Jesus was the only perfect individual who ever walked the earth. But it does mean that when you truly repent and commit your life in faith to Christ, He forgives your sins and cleans you up. He lifts your life to a new level, and starts you on a new path.

Many of us have entered into the “promised land” of the Christian life, but following that initial “invasion” we haven’t exercised the daily disciplines that are essential for acquiring more territory. We haven’t made the spiritual advances that God intends for us. We’ve been born again and have the assurance of Heaven, but we’re not enjoying the full measure of victory that could be ours down here.

And here’s the reason: while works have nothing to do with the new birth, spiritual growth is an altogether different matter. God, by His grace, enables us to gain a greater degree of spiritual victory in our daily lives only to the extent that we cooperate with Him by daily disciplining ourselves to pray, to study His word, to be faithful in attending church, using our talents to serve, and by sharing our faith with others. When you were converted, He brought you in … but now let Him bring you further in.

Jesus Is the Way Through

We who have received Christ as Savior are not exempt from life’s reverses and tribulations; we’re not spared from the disappointments, the heartaches, and the tears—but here’s the big difference: as believers, the Lord is with us in those trials. In Hebrews 13:5 the Lord says to believers, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” If you’re a Christian, you never walk alone.

Indeed, the author of Psalm 23:4 went so far as to say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Isaiah 41:10 assures us: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee.” In Romans 8, after recounting a long litany of woes and troubles that can happen to a person in this life, Paul said in verse 37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

Are you dealing with some difficulty that’s about to tear you apart? And you don’t see how you can possibly handle it? Turn your life totally over to Jesus Christ, and you’ll see that He is the way through. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Total Surrender

Jesus is the way out, the way in, and the way through. But He can only be all of that to us if we totally surrender ourselves to Him, and here’s the holdup in so many of our lives. We consider ourselves to have surrendered to Christ, when in reality we’re holding back in certain areas, and so long as that’s the case we’ll never have the degree of victory that God wants us to have. There’s an old spiritual which contains this oft-repeated refrain: “The Lord’s gotta have 100 percent; 99  won’t do!”

—Paul E. Brown, condensed