"I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.
'Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.'
I had put off my garment;
how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them?
My beloved put his hand to the latch,
and my heart was thrilled within me.
I arose to open to my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer."
We often hear sermons warning the unbeliever that he shouldn't put off closing with Jesus as Savior. And it is proper that we do so. However, there is also the danger of the believer's being complacent, somnolent, when Jesus comes to him. Why does Jesus come to the believer? There are many possible reasons: to give instruction, to comfort, or to apply discipline, just for starters. We see it happening in the passage above. The Lord knocks at the door of His beloved, but she doesn't want to get out of bed. Then, when she does rouse herself, He is nowhere to be found.
My mind dwells especially on the line where the woman complains that she has already washed her feet, and doesn't want to get them dirty again. I think of the shallow Christian who believes his sins are forgiven, and now he doesn't need anything else from Christ. Isn't that the very attitude that is so commonly produced by today's altar-call evangelism? "Thank you Jesus; I'll let you know when I need you again."
This passage applies, whether we are talking of the individual believer or of an entire congregation. We see the latter in Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and
opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me."
In a sermon in 1840, Scottish Presbyterian Minister Robert Murray McCheyne explains, "To awaken out of sleep is to see sin as it is - your heart as it is - Christ as He is - and the love of God in Christ. And you can see all this by looking to Calvary's cross. O! it is an awful thing to look to the cross and not be affected, nor feel conviction of sin - not to feel drawn to Christ." We have a saying, "Opportunity only knocks once." What have we missed by snoozing when Jesus was at the door?
39 Articles—Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude (4)
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