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The Worst State of Life

Life is hard, but many times it just isn't as bad as you may think.  Sometimes when you are lamenting your own hardships, it is helpful to consider the plight of others who have greater hardships than you. There is almost always someone you know whose life is harder than your own, and you would not want to trade places with that person.  When you make such a comparison, your own adversities seem smaller and more manageable.

To gain a full and proper perspective on the quality of your own life, it is necessary to understand what the worst possible state of life truly is.  This miserable state may not be what you think.  It is not a matter of physical suffering, for one can be in perfect health and still live in this condition.  It is not about finances, for the richest man in the world could still have the worst life in the world.  It has nothing to do with loneliness, for a person could have countless friends and still have a wretched life.  Other factors that are not involved in this poor existence are age, marriage, family, education, and nationality.  None of these aspects or any other worldly issue can make a person's life the worst it could be.

The worst state of life is measured by a spiritual standard, and it is described in 2Peter 2:20-22:

20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  21For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

By a spiritual standard, it is difficult to imagine that there could be anything worse than being lost in sin and not knowing the Lord Jesus.  However, Peter reveals that there is a state of life that is even worse.  It is the life of one who has once escaped the bondage of sin only to abandon his faith in Christ and return to a life of sin.

Such a person who has rejected Christ is utterly hopeless without the Lord, and there is nothing worse than hopelessness.  Hopeless persons are most to be pitied (1Cor. 15:19), for they are doomed to eternal destruction without any remedy.  Christians who turn away from the Lord reject the only hope they have for salvation, and there is no other savior coming for them.  Peter said that "it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness" because at least in that first state they still had the opportunity to hear and believe the gospel.  As it is, those who have turned away from Christ have walked away from God's only power for salvation (Rom. 1:16).

To demonstrate the misery of apostates, consider the explanation of their fall in Hebrews 6:4-8:

4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.  7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

That last description is indicative of the misery of those who have fallen from Christ. Whether they realize it or not, their spiritual condition is as bad as it can be.

So then, as long as you are a faithful Christian, your life is immeasurably better than that of those who have fallen away.  The point of this comparison is not to say that you are better than they are, for salvation is by the merits of Christ alone.  Instead, the point is to emphasize that no matter how hard life may be for you, your life is good as long as you have hope in the Lord. Regardless of how sick, old, poor, or lonely you may be, your existence is infinitely better than those who have no hope because they have rejected the Lord.  Indeed, your life is a joy because you have the hope of eternal life in Christ. The point is also to discourage you from ever trading your hope in Christ for any worldly benefit.  Nothing could be worse than giving up your faith. Remember, "we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39).  Your soul (life) will be preserved forever if you stay faithful to the Lord.

Stacey E. Durham



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