Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets…
There comes a time — there will come a time to each one of us — when, whatever we are, that we shall be; when the seal of permanence will be set upon the spiritual condition; when the unjust man shall be unjust for ever, and the righteous man shall be for ever righteous. I know of nothing more serious, in itself more alarming, than this reflection. There is no one now living in sin who does not intend at some future time to turn from it and be saved. And we all have great reliance upon the power of the human will. We all think that what we are we are because we choose so to be; and, at all events, that what we wish to be in the future we can be and we shall be. And we know from God's Word that we are to a great extent dealt with on this supposition (Psalm 95:7, 8; Ezekiel 18:32). And we know that in early years there is a great susceptibility of impressions. A death in a family, a sin discovered and punished, nay, a single sermon, has often, in God's hands, changed the course of a young life from evil to good. And it is so both ways. A particular companionship, casual in its origin, has led a young person into folly or worse than folly: the companionship is broken off as casually as it was formed; the snare is broken with it, and the young life delivered. And we observe a wonderful versatility and changeableness in that part of life. From year to year, almost from week to week, we have seen a vicissitude and an alteration. One week thoughtful, diligent, exemplary; the next week trifling, idle, troublesome. One month an attentive hearer, a reverent worshipper; the next month uninterested in the things of God; a listless and languid listener; a careless, indifferent, almost profane, member of the congregation. Thus the experience of one part of life seems almost to encourage the hope that the unjust man may not be unjust for ever; almost to suggest the fear that the righteous man may not be for ever righteous. And we cling to that hope, for others and for ourselves. I may spend, we say, forty or fifty years in sin and ungodliness, and yet have twenty or thirty years for faith and calling upon God. And the Christian minister, and the Christian man knows, indeed, no such thing as a limit or a terminus of God's mercy and of God's grace. But we feel that there is also a truth, and a very solemn and needful truth, on the side of the text which speaks of the permanence, of the unchangeableness, of human character. Yes, for one man who changes, a thousand change not. They pass on through life, and they end it even as they began. He who in childhood was a spoilt and wayward child, he who in boyhood was an idle and self-willed boy, he who in youth was a passionate and a dissolute young man, he who in manhood was a self-seeking and a worldly man, will probably be in old age an avaricious or an irreligious old man, and in the end one who has had his portion in this life, has received his good things here, and must look only for evil things hereafter. The experience of life as a whole does not encourage the hope of many sudden changes, of many reversals of character, of many bad beginnings and good endings. As a general rule, the unjust man will be unjust still, and the righteous and holy will be holy and righteous still. But, at all events, this will be true at a certain point, after a certain time. The connection of the words before us shows that it will be so as the end draws on; when Christ's coming is instant there will be no change in human character. When the last conflict once sets in there will be no room and no time for changing sides. When the armies are once marshalled for their final encounter, there will be no fresh desertions and no new enlistments.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.