Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
“Come!” summons the all-good God to pitiable, condemned men. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. And he who has no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
Come be clothed. Come be filled. Come be satisfied. Come be made whole. Come be forgiven.
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
The holy God calls the unrighteous to true belief and true repentance — to come and partake of eternal life. With such a free offer of eternal felicity in the presence of God himself, why do people refuse such a glorious summons?
Some trust in their own righteousness
Some will never feel the embrace of the merciful God because, as they see it, they do not need it. They are righteous enough to be accepted without all that religious fanaticism. Jesus died for the really twisted people — of whom they’ve been diligent enough to avoid. They are no saint, but they know many worse than themselves.
Such a belief hung enshrined in the synagogues of the Pharisees. They trusted in their own righteousness and religious observance. The apostle Paul, by his own conception, stood blameless under the law, but he did not trust his own righteousness. He needed another. He needed a perfect righteousness, Christ’s. The Bible is clear: All have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All need God’s mercy. All need his righteousness, not their own. All must come poor and needy.
Love for their sin
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)
Some will not rise and go to Jesus because they will not leave their sin behind. Like Achan, who could not resist to keep some of the forbidden treasure, they cannot part with this world’s sparkling lusts and fool’s gold. They will not travel forward to Zion because they secretly relish the pastimes of Sodom and Gomorrah. Like Lot’s wife, they may take steps away from their sin, but they cannot but look back and wish to return.
Jesus identified an avoidance of the light with love for the dark (John 3:19). The natural man is nocturnal. He runs from the light lest his sin be visible to all. He loves the sweet treats that Satan offers. If the choice comes down to Jesus or a life of pornography, Jesus or a life of self-rule, if it comes down to the love of Jesus or the love of money, the darkness wins with the lost soul.
Unwillingness to die to this world and self
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)
Similar to love of sin is a love of our lives in this world. With affections tethered to this world, like a balloon tied to a fence, he refuses to defer his greatest happiness, his greatest pleasure, his greatest peace to that next world where Jesus reigns. He craves his best life now. He will not sacrifice this present world for anything. This will be his heaven — and so the closest thing to heaven it will become.
Jesus counsels something very different. He calls for the backward life of losing life now to gain eternal life later. The Christian who heeds his call still seeks joy now, but not in the same way. He embraces suffering, he embraces sacrifice, he dies a thousand deaths to the flesh, the devil, the world, that he might be found faithful, waiting for his blessed hope, the appearing of his Savior and his true home.
Come Ye Sinners
The offer of eternal life is valid right now. Offered now. Today is the day of salvation. Come as you are. “If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.” He is full of love, pity, and power. If you flee to him and turn from your sin, he will embrace you — and never cast you out. He is trustworthy; his hands can secure your eternity. And further, he has proven he can receive you:
View him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?
Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of his blood:
Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.