18. THE URGENCY OF HIS KNOCKING
The fact that the Lord Jesus never stops knocking, confirms the urgency with which He knocks. Nobody knows better than Him that eternal hell is a terrible place to be spending your eternity (Cp. Mark 9:43-48). Scripture says that: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:9-11)
The urgency of the Lord's message is also reflected in the urgency of his messengers. The fact that a great number of Jews and Greeks came to repentance at Iconium, was ascribed to the serious and urgent preaching of Paul and Barnabas. (Acts 14:1) It is written literally that "they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed." The words "spoke so effectively" is related to the abundant results that followed. Paul says that he has seriously warned both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in the Lord Jesus. (Acts 20:21) Further, to the church in Corinth, he writes: "We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (2 Cor 5:20) If we knew about people asleep in a burning building, we would keep knocking with great urgency until they heard and fled the building.
Those of us who believe strongly in the grace of God alone, risk the danger of overlooking our own responsibility. We must understand that the serious pleas of the Spirit for our salvation (cp. Rev 22:17) are part of the mercy of God. Grace does not exclude our responsibilities, but rather includes it. (Jer 20:7; Phil 2:12,13) God has given us eternal life, and this life is by His Son. (1 John 5:11) However, please note that a gift does not belong to us because it was given to us, but because it was accepted by us; there is a vast difference between giving and receiving. Do not forget, that the giving as well as the receiving of our salvation are both included in the grace of God, by which we are saved by grace through faith (Cp. Eph 2:8,9). God takes the initiative and we follow: "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) God adopted us as his sons and daughters (Eph 1:5; 2 Cor 6:17,18) and we thus have received the Spirit Who adopted us as children of God, and by Him we cry to God, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15) The Lord restores us, so that we can return to Him. (Jer 31:18) He opens our hearts, that we can respond. (Acts 16:14) He knocks, that we can let Him enter. (Rev 3:20) Jesus Christ came to us so that we can receive Him as our Lord and Saviour and be saved. (John 1:11-13; Rom 10:9,10) Grace involves us and evokes a response from us.