Psalm 39:5, "Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah."
This morning, contrary to popular opinion, man comes into this world with nothing good in his natural state. As he lives his life, unless the Lord has changed his heart, God is not in all of his thoughts, and he has no desire to seek after that which is good. People like to talk about a "divine spark" in each of us. The only way that we can have a "divine spark" is because the Divine gave us something from His Divine baptism of fire. The very notion of the idea requires that God be in the matter and not us. However, the Lord has told us that there are "wicked and unreasonable men." These men have not faith, and the Lord did not see fit to bestow them with His Spirit, and change them from nature's darkness into His marvellous light.
When considering the depravity of man, the Lord does not leave any doubt in His word about the fullness and totality of it. Man cannot look at the word of God and say, "Well, man is a depraved creature, but there are still some nooks and crannies where goodness can be dwelling." If anyone poses you with that argument, a simple perusal of Isaiah 1 will solve that difficulty. Nothing about natural man is good. When natural man was created, he was indeed naturally good and very good. However, after the fall in the garden, no natural man since has been naturally good and very good. They have all gone astray and are filthy and unprofitable down to the last heir of Adam that will ever come into this world.
When considering the verse at hand, even man's "best" state is still completely vain. What is man's naturally best state? In my opinion, some wicked men in the world, devoid of the Spirit of God, are not engaging physically in every abomination and contrivance that their mind conjures. Many different factors cause this lack of action, but one of the chief (besides the providence of the Lord for His people) is their fear of the consequences. When a wicked man knows that committing an atrocious act will land him in an undesirable state, he can refrain from doing that abomination. However, he does not have a good motivation for this lack of action. He is doing it, because at his core, he is completely selfish.
Notice that a murderer may not physically murder a little lamb of God if there is a policeman standing right there. Surely, it can be said that the lack of action on the part of the murderer is better than if he had acted upon his desire. However, this "best state" of the murderer is still vain and full of pride. He had no love, pity, compassion, and conscience. Rather, the symbol of law and justice kept him from that purpose.
So, man has nothing good in him by nature, and realizing this important concept keeps us from being spiritually selfish in thinking that God "owes" us some spiritual blessing for what we have done for Him. We owe Him our all for giving us all that we have. We did not deserve heaven. We did not deserve any knowledge of that glorious thought. We did not deserve the church, where we come and sanctuary from the cares of life. The reason we are undeserving is that without His grace and love, we are that murderer seeking to devour what we can get away with.