28 November, 2007

Knockin on Heaven's Door

Revelation 3.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This is one of the classically misused verses for evangelism. The church has decided that the verse portrays Jesus Christ patiently waiting for the sinner to come to his senses and open the door. This is not the case. This verse needs to be understood in the light of Luke 12.36-40 which speaks of the Great Marriage Feast. Jesus Christ will come to this feast with triumph and power and we will sup with Him in victory! Richard Bauckham says,
Jesus’ knock is not that of a homeless traveler, standing outside the locked door of a human heart, seeking shelter. Rather, he is the master of the house, and he will burst through the door in sovereign judgment!”

It reminds me of a conference that Francis Nigel Lee did at Southfield a number of years ago when he said (speaking of Psalm 110), "This is no namby pamby Arminian Jesus knocking on the door of your heart saying, hey buddy its cold outside, could you let me in and spare me dime?"

We serve an all power Savior who will save whom he desires, yet is gracious enough to invite even the most back-slidden of churches to hear his call to repentance and invite them to the marriage feast!


Steven Carr said...

I know, I know, I vowed to never open the comments section, but as far as I am able to judge, I think the comment section has been cleaned up a bit. I now reserve the right to revoke my vow.

Nate, Baukham's comment remind's us that Christ is indeed Lord of lords and King of kings, and that one day he will burst through those doors he was once knocking on. Also I think the connection to the wedding feast is right on. However, the emphasis in Rev. 3:20, I believe, is not on Christ's coming judgment, but on Christ' mercy while there is yet time. The time will come for Christ to judge them for not answering the knock, but now the focus is on Christ' entreating and even pleading for sinners to repent.
Donald MacLean at The James Durham Thesis has written several posts on this verse. Read his post on Obadiah Sedgewick and Rev. 3:20.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan

I occasionally read your blog and I saw that Steve had referenced my blog. James Durham, David Clarkson and Obadiah Sedgwick all use Rev 3:20 “evangelistically” as I have demonstrated:


And they are by no means exceptions. J.I. Packer was basically correct when he observed:

They [the Puritans] stressed the condescension of Christ. He was never to them less than the Divine Son, and they measured His mercy by His majesty. They magnified the love of the cross by dwelling on the greatness of the glory which He left for it. They dwelt on the patience and forbearance expressed in His invitations to sinners as further revealing his kindness. And when they applied Rev. iii. 20 evangelistically (as on occasion they did [it was more than on occasion - DJM]), they took the words ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’ as disclosing, not the impotence of his grace apart from man’s cooperation (the too-prevalent modern interpretation), but rather the grace of His omnipotence in freely offering Himself to needy souls.

His last thought there is worth pondering. It is a glorious and good thing to defend the sovereignty of God, and much needed in every age, but it is also important, I think, not to reject the preaching of Durham, Clarkson and Sedgwick as somehow “namby pamby Arminian”.

Every blessing
Donald John

PS I hope you dont mind me commenting.