And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is, etc. These words suggest to our notice three supreme facts in the moral condition of mankind - the requital, the beatified, and the execrable.
I. THE REQUITAL. "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is." "When the light of the world shines fully forth, then will each man be found to have the thing for which he has toiled. 'The wages of sin,' 'the gift of God' - each will be received in its fulness. We are continually fancying there will be some reversal of that law - that somehow we shall not reap what we have sown" (Maurice). But the fact is, the law of a requital goes on inviolably from the dawn of our moral life through all the years and ages of our existence; the sowing and the reaping are settled facts in our biographies. "With what measure we mete, it is measured to us again." Every voluntary action vibrates and reverberates through all the hills and valleys of our conscious life. Three remarks are here suggested concerning this law of requital.
1. Its action is prompt. "I come quickly." No sooner do you discharge the act than the retribution is at hand. There is not a moment's delay. "Sin lieth at the door." No sooner is the blow struck than its vibration is felt.
2. Its action, is first. "Each man according as his work is." It is with every man individually; not man in the mass, but man in the unit.
3. Its action is immutable. "Alpha and Omega." He who originated and who every instant administered this law, is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." The Beginning, the Means, and End of all things but sin. Thus, brothers, none of us can extricate ourselves from our deeds, or break our shackles of responsibilities. Nemesis is always at our heels. Though it walks with woollen feet unheard, it approaches "quickly," without a pause.
II. THE BEATIFIED. "Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city." Wherein does the true blessedness of man consist? Not in his professions, or theories, or ceremonies, but in his "deeds." "Show me thy faith by thy works." Who are the men that are going constantly into eternal life? Those that do the works of the Father. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these," etc. The "deeds" of a man are not formal or occasional accidents, but the fruit of his life - the exudation and fruition of his whole life. Herein, then, is the beatification of our whole nature - keeping the commandments. Mark this beatifying - keeping the commandments. Working out the will of God involves our moral cleansing ("was their robes"); the high, moral right to the highest life as a right to come to the tree of life and to enter into the gates. "Blessed are they who do his commandments" - the commandments of Christ - that the authority may hereafter be continuously over the "tree of life, that they may have the right given them to eat forever the tree of life, and that they who have entered in may, once for all, enter in by means of the gate towers; that is, openly and without challenge, not surreptitiously or by climbing up some other way into the city. Not all shall possess this knowledge" (Vaughan).
III. THE EXECRABLE. "Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie." All souls who are outside this truly beatified state - this state of practical obedience to the Divine will - are truly execrable. For outside that blessed realm of experience are "dogs" - the unclean and ravenous appendages of Eastern cities, types of all that is rapacious in human nature. And "sorcerers" - those who practise imposture in arts and religions, and trade on the credulity of ignorant men. And "fornicators" - the dissolute and immoral. And "murderers" - private assassins, hireling soldiers, and malignant spirits. And "idolaters" - those who bow down before the empty fashions of vanity, the parade of wealth, and all the pomp and glitter of titled fools. Whatsoever in the human mind rules the soul is idolatry. There is but one true God and one true worship. The true God is the one supreme Object of worship. Oh, the awful world that lies outside the realm of the good! - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.