"The result is that the last state of the man is worse than the first." —Luke 11:26
The worst state possible for a human being is not being an atheist in the grip of the devil but being a fallen-away Christian, a backslider, a lukewarm believer. Jesus prefers that a person be an atheist rather than a lukewarm Christian (see Rv 3:15). Lukewarmness nauseates Jesus (Rv 3:16). "When men have fled a polluted world by recognizing the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are caught up and overcome in pollution once more, their last condition is worse than their first" (2 Pt 2:20).
The writer of Hebrews also indicates Jesus' revulsion towards lukewarmness: "When men have once been enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and become sharers in the Holy Spirit, when they have tasted the good word of God and powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to make them repent again, since they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding Him up to contempt" (Heb 6:4-6).
Although this seems to give little hope of repentance, Jesus does call the lukewarm to repent. He commands: "Repent! Here I stand, knocking at the door. If anyone hears Me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with him, and he with Me" (Rv 3:19-20). Let's repent of anything less than a 100% commitment to the Lord. Let us obey the first and greatest commandment, and love the Lord with all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength, and all our souls (Lk 10:27).
Prayer: Jesus, I'm all Yours.
Promise: "...making it possible for us to receive the promised Spirit through faith." —Gal 3:14
Praise: Robert drifted away from the Mass and the Sacraments, but renewed his commitment to the Lord and has now returned stronger in faith than ever before.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Dismantling the "Old Man" on audio AV 4A-1 or video V-4A.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008
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