When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door…
In the eyes of Him who "seeth not as man seeth," who readeth the heart and weigheth actions in the balances of the sanctuary, the worker of iniquity is not only the man who disregards religion and commits open wickedness; but also he who, if he avoid certain sins, avoids them not because he fears God or is constrained by Christ's love, and who, if motives were analyzed, would be found to have regard to the good opinion of the world, rather than to the will and the glory of Him who called him into being. You must search your hearts. You must see whether God be first in your hearts; whether your great fear be the fear of offending Him — your great desire, the desire of pleasing Him; whether "old things have passed away," and "new things" — new tendencies, new upon outward privileges. "The kingdom of God is within you." I do not depreciate the means of grace. The "workers of iniquity" may be those who delight in sermons and never miss a sacrament. This is not my assertion; I draw no picture from imagination; I ask you not to conjecture a case. But I may suppose the judgment past; the Son of Man hath appeared in the clouds of the heavens; He hath gathered to Himself a great company from the east and west, from the north and South; yea, with "a multitude which no man can number, out of every people and tribe and tongue," He hath sat down to the banquet, to which, from the beginning, He had invited our race. And there are numbers excluded: some "speechless," as though conscience-stricken, forced to own to themselves the justice of their exclusion. But there are others who press on with a bold front, as though they believed that "the door" had been closed by mistake, and would be opened to them so soon as they knocked. Who are these? Are these the open despisers of religion — the extortionate, the adulterer, the profane, the neglecter of ordinances, the scorner of mysteries, the scoffer at righteousness? Nay, not so. I never read of such as knocking for admission. Such may be of those who cry passionately to the rocks and to the hills to cover them; but not, so far as we are told, of those who expect entrance when the door has been closed. These are rather persons who lived in the profession of Christianity; whom the Sabbath saw regular in attendance on the ordinances of the Church; of whom ministers were hopeful, because they always found them using the means of grace; who, nevertheless, were uncircumcised at heart, and had not given themselves up for "a habitation of God through the Spirit." Yes, ye diligent hearers, ye constant communicants l take ye this on the authority of the Judge Himself; ponder this when ye go hence; be heedful that ye rest not satisfied with your state if ye have no better evidence than is thus to prove worthless at the last. The parties who shall "knock," and who shall then be rejected as "workers of iniquity," shall be those who can say — and that too without being contradicted — We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets."
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
WEB: When once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' then he will answer and tell you, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'