“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 NKJV
What an invitation! Christ is standing outside, knocking and waiting for “anyone” who hears to open the door of his or her life and welcome Him in to dine together, a significant sign of fellowship in any culture. But while it is inviting, this verse has also been controversial, as Bible students have argued for centuries over whether the invitation is to unbelievers as well as believers.
Many evangelists use this verse at the conclusion of their gospel messages. The problem is that some teachers say the context makes it an appeal to Laodicean-like believers rather than unbelievers. Earlier, in Revelation 3:16, those in the Laodicean church were described as “lukewarm” – their fellowship with God had cooled. In context, Christ’s “knocking” was an invitation to them to restore their relationship.
But the fact that contextualizers are right doesn’t mean that it’s wrong for evangelists to use this verse in their appeal to souls. Christ invites lost souls to begin a relationship with Him, whether it’s for the first time as new believers, or for the umpteenth time to renew a relationship that has cooled through neglect.
God continually pursues unbelievers as well as backslidden believers through gentle, loving invitation. While teachers and students argue about context, evangelists will continue to use Revelation 3:20 to invite souls into a “hot” relationship with Christ. As far as He’s concerned, it’s never out of context to be moved to a new or renewed relationship with Him. That’s why His appeal is to “anyone.”
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org