What’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone? Ask most people, and the answer will have something to do with loss, illness, or death. Perhaps someone might answer that the worst thing would be for a person to die without a relationship with Christ and spend eternity in hell. Yes, but I actually think the answer is slightly more complex. Here’s my assertion:
The worst thing that can happen to anyone is to follow their own desire, refusing God’s intervention.
I know this may sound confusing, but think about it. Scripture teaches plainly (in Romans 3:10-23) that nobody naturally desires the things God would have in mind for us. We, instead, desire things that seem good to us at the time, but are really counterfeits for the best thing – an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The harshest judgment of God against humanity is to give us over to our own desires. Consider Sodom and Gomorrah and the five cities of the plain. God offered them an opportunity to repent, but they refused His intervention, so He gave them over to their own violence and self-destructive choices. The same could be said of the human race just before Noah’s flood. It’s also illustrated well in Romans, chapter one:
(Because people glorified God not as God, but instead worshipped creation in place of the Creator…) God also gave them up to uncleanness… For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections… And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…
~ Romans 1:24-32, emphasis mine
In other words… People rebel. God is willing to intervene. We reject His intervention. He judges us by letting us proceed to the natural and spiritual consequences of our rebellion. That’s the worst thing that can happy to anyone.
FOUR REALITIES TO EMBRACE…
We don’t choose God’s will, plan, or grace on our own.
We walk away. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned aside every one of us to our own ways. We don’t seek God, we rebel against Him.
The end of our ways is death.
Our way seems right to us, but it ends in death, destruction, and judgment. These are the wages or payment for sin.
God loves us enough to intervene.
God has so loved this rebellious world, that He has given His one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.
I’ve heard old-time preachers say that you have to climb over the cross to get into hell, and I agree. God has gone out of His way to offer us a sacrifice as well as the good news of that sacrifice.
Anyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved.
In other words, if we accept God’s intervention – the giving of His Son on the cross as our sin-payment, we’ll be forgiven and there will be a turning (repentance) in our lives. It’s free for anyone and God desires it for everyone.
The worst thing that can happen to anyone is that they refuse God’s intervention – His offer of salvation – and continue on their own path which will absolutely and inevitably lead to death, destruction, and the judgment of God.
This is not an easy truth to hear or understand, especially in the culture in which we live that is so pluralistic and tolerant of different belief systems. It isn’t because I don’t love anyone that I believe this so strongly and present it so often – it’s precisely because I do love people that I feel compelled to keep getting this message out. God is willing to receive you if you’ll just turn to Him by faith and receive Him as your Savior.