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…
There are multitudes who will go a long way towards heaven and then stop short. They will give up everything but one thing for Christ, and therefore are they near heaven; but they keep that one, and therefore must they be excluded at the last. And it will be their having been so near which shall give such terror and fearfulness to the final exclusion. Almost believers upon earth, they are almost guests at the marriage-supper above. Oh! that voice — the known voice of the Redeemer — the voice which had often been heard in the proclamations of the gospel — how thrillingly will it come from the midst of the rejoicing assembly! how terrible will be the utterance, I know you not, whence ye are I Any voice rather than that voice. It will remind the almost Christian of what had been once in his power. His very recognition of the voice will so force on him the conviction that he might have made a covenant with Christ, that perhaps the bitterest thing of all in his banishment from heaven will be that the sentence proceeds from such lips. He could bear it better if an angel or an archangel syllabled the decree — though the voice might be awful as that of "many waters" when the fierce storm has roused them. But the voice which he had been wont to hear in the sanctuary, the voice which had spoken to him of pardon, the voice which even from the Cross had breathed the touching words, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do " — the voice which, as he was used to think, had addressed him in friendship, and promised him immortality — to hear this voice, too well remembered, bidding him "depart" when he knocks for admission — terror of terrors! keenest, hardest thing of all! What shall torment a man in hell like the consciousness that he had been almost in heaven? Thus it is to be. The men who "have eaten and drunk in Christ's presence" are to go to the very gate, to see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob admitted to the banquet, to distinguish the voice of the Redeemer as answer is made to them from the celestial hall, and then they are themselves to "go away into outer darkness!" Well may our Lord add, as He does, "There shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." I would that this might warn you; that this might startle you. If there are any of you who are resting on outward duties and privileges, and have not given your hearts to the Lord, oh! do not shrink from self-examination; be not afraid to know the worst. The "Master of the house" hath not yet "risen up and shut to the door." You may still secure for yourselves admission at the last.
(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.'