John 10:9 (ESV) … “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
This passage, and the greater teaching of John 10, speaks of three great benefits of entering into God’s flock through Christ. They are consequences of belief in one sense. In another sense they are inducements to come.
First, Jesus says that anyone who enters in will be saved. This promise is not the limited promise that we sometimes make it out to be. That is, it is not purely future, as if Jesus were offering a “pie in the sky by and by” salvation. Salvation is partially future; that belongs to it. But it is also past and present. It affects who we are and what happens to us from beginning to end. A better way of talking about it is in terms of sin’s penalty, power, and presence. By entering in through Christ we immediately escape sin’s penalty, so that we need not fear our sins will ever rise up against us. This is justification. Then, too, we also enter into a life in which we are increasingly delivered from sin’s power. The Bible calls this sanctification. Finally, we look forward to a day marked by the return of Christ or else our passing into his presence through death, in which even the presence of sin will be gone and our salvation will be perfected. The Bible calls this glorification.
Second, Jesus promises that anyone who enters in will be safe. This is the point of his reference to going “in and out.” If we did not know better from other references and from a knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic idiom, we might think that this referred to entering and leaving the church or to salvation itself. But this is not what Christ means. To be able to go in and out means security (cf. Deut. 28:6; 1 Kings 3:7; Ps. 121:8), for in Christ’s day when a man could go in or out without fear it meant that his country was at peace and that the ruler had the affairs of the nation under control. When danger threatened, the people were shut up in the cities under siege. Thus, Jesus promises safety for those who trust him.
Third, he also promised that they would be satisfied—saved, safe, and satisfied—for he said that they would be able to go in and out and “find pasture.” Palestine is a barren land for the most part, and good pasture was not easy to find. Consequently, to be assured of good pasture was a wonderful thing. It spoke of prosperity and contentment, of health and happiness. It was in this sense that David wrote of the care of his Good Shepherd: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul” (Ps. 23:2–3). It was this that Paul wrote of when he told the Philippians, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (4:19). This last verse does not speak of all our desires, of course. We often desire that which is wrong or is not good for us. It speaks only of our needs, but even in that form it is a great promise. It is the promise that the one who enters in by Christ will not lack any good thing.