Why is the Latter End Worse?
Introduction: The question in our title is obviously a reference to 2 Peter 2: 20. The verse reads, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." Why and how could it have been better to have never known than to have known and turned away? (vs. 21.)
I. Some question the genuineness of those being discussed.
A. The proponents of "once saved, always saved" attempt to deny that the people being described by Peter were ever saved. However, Peter says that they "escaped" and that their escape was through Jesus.
B. Peter also says they were "again entangled," which implies they had been freed. Moreover, they had known the way of righteousness (vs. 21).
C. The teaching that if one falls away, they were never saved is fallacious. There are many passages that teach and illustrate one can be saved and lose their salvation (Heb. 6: 4-10; 2 Chroni. 15: 2; Gal. 5: 4).
II. Reasons latter end worse.
A. The latter end of which Peter writes is the apostate condition.
B. There are a number of reasons the latter end is worse.
a. The apostate (one fallen away) crucifies the Son of God again and put him to open shame (Heb. 6: 6).
b. The apostate often develops a hardened heart and seared conscience (Heb. 3: 15; I Tim. 4: 2). In such a state, repentance is difficult, at best.
c. Those who fall away are utterly without excuse, because they have known the good life and have turned from it.
III. Peter graphically illustrates the condition of the apostate.
A. "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire" (vs. 22).
B. " That servant, who knew his Lord's will, " Jesus teaches, "and prepared not himself shall be beaten with many stripes " (Lk. 12: 47, 48).
Conclusion: Realizing that the "latter end is worse than the beginning" should cause the Christian to ever grow to prevent apostasy (2 Pet. 1: 5-11, 3: 17, 18).