Psalm 118: The Gates Are Open

Psalm 118:1-4, 19-24, 29

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,

    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Texas Bluebonnets | Mercer Botanical Garden | March 2023

OK, minor annoyance warning. I see it all too often, and I don’t understand the reason for it. Unless it’s just plain laziness. You walk up to a business entrance. There are two doors. You yank the handle on the right door and you are rewarded with a rude clunk and a jarred shoulder. The door does not open. So you have to pull the handle on the other side. Why does this happen?!?

Perhaps I’m being a bit hysterical here. But it does go to a point of open doors and gates, invitations and accessibility. And herein lies an important paradox. On the one hand, Jesus died for the sins of the world. He rose from the dead to vindicate his faithfulness, perfect obedience and love, and to prove that his sacrifice was sufficient for the sins of all. Whoever believes in him will have eternal life. There is no question about this. The promise is as wide open as the arms of Jesus on the cross.

Nevertheless, however, not all believe. Not all will receive the gift that Jesus offers. They will spend an eternity apart from Jesus. The door is open to them, but they want no part of living under Christ in his kingdom. They suppose they have no need for a Savior. They’re fine without Jesus, so they think. Imagine an eternity without God and without Christ. The world falls apart for there is no one upholding it with the power of his word. Imagine a future with no hope for forgiveness, or mercy, or grace, for that is what Christ alone gives. I can’t even imagine it.

Through this psalm we call out,

“Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.

And comes the answer:

This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

Jesus is both the door (John 10:9) and the one who has opened it. He died, and says, “behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18) He has opened up heaven to all believers. The Te Deum expresses it beautifully:

When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man: Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

I am keenly aware that Jesus is my righteousness. I have none of my own. That’s why he had to die. None of us has a righteousness of our own sufficient to enter into the salvation of God. But Jesus is our righteousness. He has opened the gate of salvation to all who believe. We are righteous through faith in him. This is the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes!

Thanks be to God!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: