Who gets the last word?

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Our legal system has one court that has the last word.  When a case makes its way through the courts, through appeals, it may finally come before the Supreme Court. Surprisingly to me, I recently found that only around 80 are accepted by the 9 justices to be heard each term. When they render their judgment, it is final, no higher appeal.  They have the final, the last word. Because of the weight that their judgments have in shaping our national life, the politics that swirl around the appointment of a justice, who serves for life, are something to behold, leaving those of us on the outside baffled by the machinations of those in power.  Yes, having the last word is important and knowing who will render that judgment is critical, too.

In my readings in Peter’s first letter to Christians, I came upon this declaration of God’s promise to have the last word. What joy and comfort I find here. My life has its share of sorrows, of things that I cannot presently understand, of disappointments when things do not turn out as I had hoped. Am I unique? Not at all. Answering our need to be assured, Peter is inspired to say this to us:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11, NIV)

  • That cancer that suddenly came into your body does not have the last word, though it may seem to when death looms.
  • That economic upheaval that ended your job does not have the last word, though it may feel like it when your lifestyle must be radically changed.
  • That announcement by your spouse that he is finished with the marriage is not the last word but you may feel as though life is over.
  • That habit that appears to have you completely bound does not have the last word, even though it feels like you will never change.

What does Peter say to us about all of this?

First of all, he reminds us that the Lord is the “God of all grace.”
Yes, we turn to Him, not in cowering fear or to beg for His attention, but rather with the assurance that He is the complete resource.

Second, he puts eternity foremost.  God has “called you to eternal glory in Christ.”
Life does not end when the lid of casket is locked in place! What is happening now must be seen in the context of the eternal life that awaits. There is a splendor ahead that is ‘immeasurably more’ than we can even imagine.

Third, he tells us that we will “suffer a little while.”
We live in a world where evil exists, where weeds grow, where best intentions get frustrated. When we are going through terrible times, it may be that we are reaping the harvest of past mistakes and sins. It also may be that we are just experiencing life in a broken world.  Peter knew this first hand and tells us “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT)

Last, he underscores and bolds, by repetition, the fact that God has the last word.
God perfects us. Yes, He will ultimately restore to wholeness those things that are broken, incomplete, or just plain misunderstood.
Peter uses a literary device of saying the same thing three ways to drive home the point – God will make you “strong, firm, and steadfast.”

 He has the last word, Christian.  The devil does not. Other people do not. Circumstances do not. God, the Eternal Father, who is full of grace will keep us. Will we trust Him?

Here is a word from the Word. “’In him (Christ Jesus) we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:10-15, NIV)

________

Build My Life

(a beautiful prayer of worship and hope)

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You 

Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
We live for You

 Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

 I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

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