“Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
Explanation and Commentary of Revelation 22:11
Most believe that these words of the angel to John refer to the time after the last Judgment when our state is fixed. Now is the time to repent, because there will come a day at last when we are completely unable. At this time the eternal punishment of hell will be totally justified by a stubborn refusal to follow God even then.
This will also mean good news to the saints who are in Christ, as their state of holiness will also remain fixed from that point. Eternal reward in heaven is the destiny of the holy.
But might we also see this as applying to a time before the Judgement, even now? It seems from the tense used by the angel that it could mean that. While the call to belief and repentance is always issuing to the very end of life, there seems to be a callousness that grows on the hearts of those who deep down know God is real, but who have chosen to reject him. They have heard, and they have seen the same evidence that believers have heard and seen, and yet they reject him, bringing the wrath of God for sin upon themselves. Certainly, the state of holiness is fixed from the moment one is born again.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Revelation 22:11
#1 “Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong;”
As stated above, there will be nothing to stop an unbeliever from continuing in unbelief and the wrongdoing that accompanies the godless. When an unrepentant sinner does pay the penalty for his or her sin it is justified by their actions and rebellious heart. Even if allowed into heaven, they would still do wrong and hate to be with God among the saints.
#2 “let the vile person continue to be vile;”
Because our first parents sinned, all are born sinful. Romans 3:10-12 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.” We are born “vile” and we remain “vile” until we are born again by the gracious work of Christ on the cross in his “vile” death that paid our penalty. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).
#3 “and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
When God regenerates our spirit and makes a home in us, we are made holy. This is an eternally secure transaction (Eph 1:13). It is forever. It isn’t just a certificate of redemption, but a fundamental change of the heart (Ez 36:26). A born again believer will begin to long more and more for personal holiness and to please the Father, and so continue to dwell in his presence (Jn 8:29). A true believer will grow and grow into Christlikeness until his glorious appearing when we shall be completely changed (1 Cor 15:51) into his likeness forever and ever.
Expert Overview of Revelation Ch. 12-22
Biblical Translations of Revelation 22:11
Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.
Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.