“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.  8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (Acts 9:1-9).

 “The Savior is waiting to enter your heart,
Why don’t you let Him come in?
There’s nothing in this world to keep you apart,
What is your answer to Him?

Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door:
O how He wants to come in.

If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide;
Receive Him, and all of your darkness will end,
Within your heart He’ll abide.

Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door:
O how He wants to come in.”

“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” (1 Cor. 14:15).

One problem with sweet sentimental spiritual songs like this is, they contain a seed of gospel truth, but only in germ form. The full gospel is much richer, and more expansive, for the waiting God waits no longer in the Day of Judgment.

Another problem with a sentimental song sung as a hymn of invitation is that it emasculates God and places salvation in the hands of the sinner, not the sovereign Savior. Speaking to his generation a former Christian leader in the Missionary Alliance movement had this to say. “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Cor. 6:2).

When Saul of Tarsus held the clothing of Stephen while others stoned him, the Lord waited for the gospel message which Stephen preached to take root. But the Enemy came and snatched the good seed from the soul of Saul of Tarsus. The seed had fallen on hard soil for Saul grew bolder in his opposition to people of The Way, and sough to imprison as many as possible. It was while Saul was on his way to Damascus that the Sovereign Savior waited no more but moved with omnipotent power to make Himself known to the Chief of all Sinners. When the Lord of Glory reveals Himself in splendor and glory, there is only one response. Saul fell before His Creator and cried out, in fear and trembling and said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

The Lord would have Saul repent. He was to change His mind about Christ and Christians. He was to reverse his course of brutality and hostility. He was to turn around and walk in the newness of life.

The Lord would have Saul believe. He was to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. He was to believe that Christ died for sinners, according to the Scriptures. He was buried and rose the third day from among the dead.

The Lord would have Saul testify to others of His new found faith. Like the woman at the well, Saul would go and tell others what great things God had did for Him.

The Lord would have Saul serve others. He was to engage in gospel work. “And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. There is much to do, Saul. There is a world to win. You must go to the Jewish synagogues and preach Christ. Then, you must go to the Gentiles and expand the kingdom of heaven.”

Such is the power of redeeming grace by the Savior who waits. The Sovereign Savior will go and give sight to the blind, the ability to hear to the deaf, and life to the dead. The Holy Spirit will convert Saul of Tarsus. The soul of the Pharisee will be regenerated. Saul will yet be the object of God’s special, electing love for, as Ananias was told, “He is a chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15).

“Today, the force of the gospel of special electing love, has been reduced by a general appeal, that all men need to do for salvation is to ‘accept Christ.’ “The trouble is that the whole ‘accept Christ’ attitude is likely to be wrong. It shows Christ applying to us, rather than us to him. It makes him stand hat-in-hand, awaiting our verdict on him, instead of our kneeling with troubled hearts awaiting his verdict on us. It may even permit us to accept Christ by an impulse of mind, or emotions, painlessly, at no loss to our ego, and no inconvenience to our usual way of life.” (A. W. Tozer 1897-1963)

A large part of modern evangelical evangelism has emaciated God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Lord can do nothing but wait.

“Time after time. And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door:
O how He wants to come in.”

Is this not a pathetic portrayal of the Master of the Universe? Where is His majesty?

Jesus does not need to wait to see if you are willing to open the door. He already know that the unbeliever is not willing and will never be willing to open any door of His heart to the Lord.

The state of the unbeliever is set forth in Scripture in vivid language.

“If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide;
Receive Him, and all of your darkness will end,
Within your heart He’ll abide.”

“If?”

The song implies that maybe, just maybe, the unbeliever will take one step toward the Savior, and find His arms open wide.

The song also suggests that the unbelieve will not take that one step toward the Savior.

Again, while the words are well intended, unless they are sung with some Biblical understanding, they pose a theological concern for conservative Christians. 

The student of the Bible knows something about the unbeliever.

The unbeliever will not, indeed cannot take that one step toward the Savior unless they are first washed by the Word, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost. They are totally incapable apart from Divine empowerment.

A step of any sort presupposes life.

If I tell you to “step this way”, I assume you have the ability to comply with the command. I assume you have the ability to “step lively.”

There is no such ability with the unbeliever. They have no spiritual life. They have no God consciousness. They have no need to step towards the Savior. They have no desire. They do not care if His arms are opened wide, or shut tight. It is of no concern to them.

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