43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” — Matthew 12:43-45.
God is willing to bless us—as He allowed the demon to be cast out of the man—yet those blessings do not insulate us from further problems. The demon came back with seven others more wicked and tormented the man again. The Jews of Jesus’ day were allowed to see His glory, benefit from His miracles, rejoice in His teaching, and learn from His example. Yet all this did not make them holy—that was a decision they had to make. If “this generation” was unwilling to truly change after all the blessings Jesus brought, it would have been better for Him not to come. “The last state” of rejecting God’s Son would be “worse than the first”.
God expects true reform from sin. John came preaching, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance”(Matt 3:8), and Jesus demanded “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”(Matt 4:17). God will take away our sins—He will cast out the demons, so to speak—but still expects us to make changes in our lives. And this is the key: change is not something God can do for us! We must fill up our house rather than leaving it empty, swept, and put in order ready for sin to return. We must keep our hands busy in good things so that sin does not return in greater measure. But when we accept God’s blessings without accepting our responsibility to change, it will be said of us: “the last state of that man is worse than the first”.
Sadly, Jesus was right. Many of “this wicked generation” basked in the glory of the Son of God, only to turn away unchanged. They rejected Him and returned to their evil ways. Yet for a precious few, the blessings of God were seized and appreciated. Permanent change took place, and they now rest in righteousness.
How will you respond to the blessings of our God? Which camp will you be in? [Adapted From “A Demon’s Journey” by Jacob Hudgins, Expository Files 16.2; February 2009.]