Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”
Is this a passage that proves “free will” for the unconverted?
“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.”
Those who believe in “free will” theology will often bring up this verse in an attempt to promote the idea that “I chose of my own free will to open the door of my heart and accept Jesus as my Saviour.”
Does this verse actually teach these things?
“Free will” theology always ends up pitting one verse of Scripture against other verses of Scripture, as though the Bible were full of contradictions or “tensions” that cannot be resolved or understood.
They always end up making Jesus Christ out to be both a liar and a colossal failure.
See Who is Lying? Jesus Christ or the “Free Willers”?
The Free Will explanation of Revelation 3:20 is that Revelation 3:14-22, where the church of the Laodiceans is addressed, speaks to the Unconverted sinner who needs to “open his heart and accept Jesus” as his Saviour, and this is how he becomes redeemed and forgiven.
However their explanation conflicts with and contradicts, not only the immediate context, but many other Bible verses as well.
First of all, the book of The Revelation is clearly addressed to those who are the servants of God. In Revelation 1:1 we read of those to whom this revelation was given. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew UNTO HIS SERVANTS things which must shortly come to pass”
Secondly, in the letter to the Laodiceans the Lord Jesus is speaking to church members that are not DEAD, nor even cold, but are lukewarm. They have grown colder in their affections for, devotion to and love for the Saviour. They have grown distant and indifferent.
He tells them “As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and CHASTEN: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19
Those Christ loves are his own.
“Jesus…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1
“...Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25
“…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Romans 9:13
“...Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” Revelation 1:5
And those he “chastens” ARE his sons.
“For whom the Lord LOVETH HE CHASTENETH, and scourgeth EVERY SON whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God DEALETH WITH YOU AS WITH SONS; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8
For much more on this, Does God Love Everybody?
Thirdly, it is GOD who opens the door for the unconverted, not man.
“And when they were come (Paul and Barnabas), and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that GOD HAD DONE with them, and HOW HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH UNTO THE GENTILES.”
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, HE THAT OPENETH, AND NO MAN SHUTTETH; AND SHUTTETH; AND NO MAN OPENETH.” Revelation 3:7
It is GOD who opens the heart and gives the gift of faith, not man.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: WHOSE HEART THE LORD OPENED, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Acts 16:14
Rather than teaching that fallen, dead in sins, rebellious and unregenerate man has some ability in himself to choose of his own free will to decide to open the door of his heart and allow Jesus to come in to him to redeem him, (which would contradict numerous other clear verses about God’s election of grace and predestination) Revelation 3:20 is speaking about a church of believers who have grown lukewarm in their affections toward their Lord and need to welcome him back into lives in a closer and more intimate communion and fellowship.
If they do not repent of their lack of affection for him, then Christ will (not send them to hell or condemn them) but “spue them out of his mouth”. That is, he will reject them as being a strong testimony and witness to his name and cause.
Even IF the verse were talking about the unconverted – which it is not – it STILL would not prove “free will” theology because the Lord Jesus says “If any man HEAR my voice” and “HE THAT HATH AN EAR, let him HEAR what the Spirit saith unto THE CHURCHES (Not – the unconverted or the non-elect)
Why? Simply because once again, it is GOD who gives EARS TO HEAR to some and closes the ears of others. Man does not, and can not do this of himself.
See “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
ALL of grace, believing the Book – the King James Holy Bible, and the God who inspired it.