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. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (Revelation 22:11–13—NKJV)

The first verse is one that I loved to misquote when I was young. You do not have to be alive long to realize that there are some people who do some really stupid things. The level of their stupidity often tends to become more pronounced with the retelling of their exploits. Upon hearing a story, and with tongue in cheek, I would sometimes say something like, “Well, you know what the Bible says in Revelation, ‘He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he who is an idiot, let him be an idiot still!’” Certainly a misquote, but not a total misrepresentation.

There are certain things that are attributable to the nature of a creature. These are things that are identifiable as characteristics of a species. The nature of an animal cannot be changed. A bird will act and have preferences like a bird; a fish will behave in its preferred habitat in accord with its nature; a dog will sound and react according to its nature; and a man, in moments of introspection and honest self-reflection, will quickly admit that there is an ugly, dark side to his fallen nature.

One of the unique characteristics of the nature of each one of us is personality. Personalities are most often divided into four groups. Each personality has its own strengths and weaknesses. All the varying personalities of men, along with their personality subsets, show the infinite nature of our Creator. Experts tell us that no one can really change his personality, but he can work to emphasize the good qualities of his nature while minimizing the negative qualities. Our individual, natural personality is a unique identifier of each one of us.

A fascinating area of study concerning our nature is to examine what takes place when a sinful, unregenerate man becomes born again. The Bible teaches us that at the point of being “born from above” the divine nature is planted within the new believer. 2 Peter 1:4 reads, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” When someone is saved, especially later in life, his acquaintances notice a marked difference between who he was “BC” (Before Conversion) and who he is “AD” (After Devotion, or Decision, or Dedication, or Dawning of the Day of Salvation). The new birth causes a spectacular transformation from a life lived according to varying degrees of reformed human nature to a life lived infused with the Divine Nature as led by the Holy Spirit.

Our text identifies the new nature of the born-again man as “righteous” and “holy.” His new nature is of a man who is theologically “justified.” Jesus Christ has paid this man’s sin-debt in full so that the sinless righteousness of the Son of God is placed on the account of the converted sinner. God has judicially declared this undeserving sinner as guiltless and made him “positively” righteous because He sees the believer as clothed in the righteousness of His Son. This state of being justified is declared at the point of conversion (“BC”). The new believer is made “holy” because he is set apart and devoted as an object of the grace of God (“AD”). These conditions never change; they are set in the records of Heaven and are transformative in his life. Romans 8:29–30 states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…. Whom He called, these He also justified.”

The unsaved man who dies in his sins retains the only nature he was ever equipped with. Though he may have reformed it because of customs, society, or education, the nature remains unchanged. It is a sinner’s nature. When a man dies he is sent to Hell and he is no more constrained by social norms or consequences. His fallen nature with its cravings will assert itself in all its unrighteous impurity (“unjust”) and dirty vileness (“filthy”). The eternal state of an unconverted man is not annihilation, or purging of sins, or second chances. The eternal state is a sin nature that is unrepentant, unbridled, recidivist, unredeemable, and irremediable. As the Greek aorist tense in the verse literally states, “let him be filthy” (a decisive decree). The sin nature will out. God gives up the unregenerate to his own nature.

Are you sure you are born again? Have you been rescued from your sin, hell, and from yourself? Has your life been transformed, justified, and made devotedly holy? Thank God for His grace. Trust and obey.