By Denver Niemeier
We read in Rev. 3:20 the following, “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 sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus here pictured a door separating him from man, a door that has to be opened by man in order for Christ to come to that man. All blessings that God has provided for man through his grace are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). If a man desires those blessings, he will have to open the door that Christ is knocking upon. Through his word, God has given man the necessary instruction to open the door. God has placed on that door a combination lock on man’s side that will have to be worked in order for it to swing open.
A combination lock is one that has a dial on which are numbers or letters, and is designed to open when a prescribed series of numbers or letters is turned to on the dial. At that time, the tumblers will release and one will have access to whatever has been secured or fastened by that lock. For example, a lock of that type is used to secure the door of a vault or safe in which are stored one’s valuables. The manufacturer arranged the lock to open when the dial was turned to the following numbers: 5-1-8-3-9. That lock will not open until all of those numbers have been turned to in the right order. If a person sought to open that door by just using some of the numbers such as 5-1-8 and then stopped, he could not open the door. The same would be true if he used all of the numbers but used them in the wrong order.
Man is a sinner (Rom. 3:23). God has the power to forgive man of his sin and therefore has the right to set forth the requirements that man must meet in order to obtain that forgiveness; thus, the combination has been designed by God which man must work in order to open the door of our study.
In John 6:45 Jesus said, “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Just like number 5 is the first number in the combination illustrated above, so is learning of God’s will for man the first movement that must be made in working the combination of the lock God has placed on man’s side of the door. Every instruction man needs for his soul’s salvation has been provided by God through the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and by studying and searching them man can thus listen to God.
Not only must man hear, but accepting in faith God’s will is required of man. This then is the second movement in God’s combination. We are told in Rom. 10:17 that faith comes by hearing God’s word. Thus, learning of God and Christ, and what they have provided for man and believing what the scriptures teach concerning them, the second movement is made (Heb. 11:6; John 8:24).
Please notice our combination of figures given above, 5-1-8-3-9. Suppose one turned the dial to 5 then 1 and endeavored to open that safe. Would it come open?
You know it would not because the entire combination had not been worked. The same is true if one stops at faith and tries to open the door of Revelation 3:20.
The third movement of God’s combination is repentance. The necessity of this is set forth many times in the scriptures (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9). Some mistakenly think that sorrow is repentance. Others think reformation is repentance. While godly sorrow is involved in repentance (2 Cor. 7:10), and John said there would be “fruits meet for repentance,” Jesus through the lesson given in Matt. 21:28-29 shows that a change of will is involved also. When one who has heard and believed the gospel of Christ, with godly sorrow determines to turn from the way he has been going, to follow God’s way and is willing to bow his will to God’s, he will then work the third movement of God’s combination.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Paul wrote in Rom. 10:9-10 “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This we find the eunuch did in Acts 8:37. Thus when man does this, he then works the fourth movement in God’s combination. We note again that in our example combination of 5-1-8-3-9 that if the combination was worked through 3 the door would still not open. So it is with our door of Rev. 3:20 if we stop at confession.
Baptism is the fifth movement of God’s combination. The Bible shows there is a going down into water (Acts 8:38), a burial (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12), and a coming up out of the water (Acts 8:39), and a planting together in the likeness of his death and a likeness of his resurrection (Rom. 6:5). The reason for doing this according to Acts 2:38 is for the remission of sins, or to have “sins washed away” (Acts 22:16). Peter says, in 1 Pet. 3:21, that it saves us, as Jesus also taught in Mark 16:16. The Lord adds those thus saved to the church (Acts 2:47). Paul said in Gal. 3:27, it puts us in Christ where, as mentioned before, we have access to all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). This fifth movement then will open the door and Christ “will come in and sup.”
A combination lock will only open when the right combination is worked in the right way. Have you worked God’s combination and opened the door for Christ? If not, remember “Now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
Truth Magazine, XX:10, p. 6-7
March 4, 1976