A well-known preacher was getting ready for bed one night when he heard a knock at the front door. Upon answering it, he found a little girl dressed in rags. As he stood looking into her thin, haggard little face, she said, "Are you the preacher?"
"Yes, I am," he replied.
"Well, won't you come down and get my mother in?" she asked.
The preacher answered, "My dear, it is hardly proper for me to come and get your mother in. If she is drunk, you should get a policeman."
"Oh, sir," she quickly replied, "you don't understand! My mother isn't drunk; she's at home dying, and she's afraid to die. She wants to go to heaven, but doesn't know how. I told her I would find a preacher to get her in. Come quick, sir; she's dying!"
The preacher could not resist the appeal of the little girl, so he promised her he would come as soon as he was dressed.
The little girl led him into the slum district to an old house, up a rickety stairway, along a dark hall, and finally to a dismal room. There the dying woman lay in the corner.
"I've got the preacher for you, Mother. He wasn't ready to come at first, but he's here. You just tell him what you want, and do what he tells you and he'll get you in!"
Too weary to sit up, the poor woman raised her feeble voice and asked, "Can you do anything for a sinner like me? My life has been lived in sin, and now that I'm dying I feel that I'm going to hell, but I don't want to go there; I want to go to heaven. What can I do now?"
Looking at her sin-weary face the preacher thought: What can I tell her? I have been preaching salvation by reformation, but this poor soul has gone too far to reform. I have been preaching salvation by character, but she hasn't any. I know what to do. I'll tell her what my mother used to tell me as a boy. She's dying and it can't hurt her even if it doesn't do her any good.
Bending down beside her the preacher began: "My dear woman, God is very gracious and kind, and in His Book, the Bible, he says, "God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"Oh," exclaimed the dying woman, "does it say that in the Bible? My! That ought to get me in. But, sir, my sins, my sins!"
He was amazed at the way the verses came back to him. "My dear woman," he continued, "the Bible says that 'the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.'"
"All sin, did you say?" she asked earnestly. "Does it really say ALL sin? That ought to get me in."
"Yes," he replied, kneeling down beside her. "It says all sin. God's Book also says: 'This is a faithful saying and worthy of acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.'"
"Well," she said, "if the chief got in, I can come. Pray for me, sir!"
The preacher bent down and prayed with the poor woman. Just as she was she came to Jesus, who never turned anyone away, and she "got in."
"And in the process," added the preacher, "while she was getting in, I myself got in. We two sinners, the preacher and that poor woman, entered salvation's door together that night."
The Lord Jesus says: "I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Again, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."
The Lord Jesus is the door to eternal salvation. He does not say a door, for there is no other door. Reformation and good works are not the door; the blessed Mary, mother of Jesus, is not the door. Jesus is the only door, and to enter heaven a sinner must come through Him to have his sins forgiven and washed away.
The preacher's good living didn't get him in, nor did the poor woman's bad life keep her out. Both were sinners -- "for all have sinned" -- and as such they entered through the same door to life and peace, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).