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Worse Off

Daily Reading:  2 Peter 2

 

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2.20-21)

 

Devotional Thought: In 2 Peter 2, the Apostle gets right to the point of this letter: to warn his readers about false teachers and false teachings.  He makes a statement that is alarming in its clarity: These false teachers had at one time been a genuine part of the church, but now they were led astray to an end worse than if they had never known Jesus! 

 

That’s right: knowing Jesus and turning your back on him is worse than having never known him at all!  Let’s look at what Peter says.  They...

  • Had “escaped the defilements of the world.”  Literally they had rid themselves from "that which discolors," from the stain of sin.  They had been cleansed of sins by the blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Had known Jesus as "Lord as Savior."  Having knowledge here signifies to acknowledge that Jesus was their Lord and Savior.  They had a real and personal relationship with Jesus on the level of the heart.

  • Had allowed themselves to become entangled in the things of the world.  They had not kept their lives pure.  Sin had deceived them with its temporary beauty and pleasure, and they had taken the bait  and were “overcome.”  Peter’s verb here means that sin had become their master once again.

  • Were worse off than if they had never known Christ.  Jesus teaches us that to whom much is given much is required.  Having known Jesus and the way of life meant that now choosing death brought them to a worse state.

 

A sober warning indeed, but as the writer of Hebrews said, “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it...  How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"

 

Prayer: Jesus, you have saved me from sin.  Keep me, O Lord, from becoming entangled in it again, finding myself worse off than I was before I ever knew you.  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 58:9-11

9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!

10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11 Mankind will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth."

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