"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

October 12, 2020

The Last Word

My Dear Friend,

      On our journey through life we meet an array of religious and social issues on which we must make a decision.

     Will we believe or disbelieve a claim or testimony? Seek or not seek a spiritual experience? Take one side or another in a social issue? Accept or reject a particular interpretation or doctrine? So we search the world for the right word.

     We ask the opinions of pastors. We seek the position taken by teachers and scholars. We query analysts and experts. We poll friends and family members. We research the writings of the great theologians, leaders, and thinkers of yesteryear.

     We read editorials by contemporary pundits and journalists. And, yes, we're even influenced by what the famous names of Hollywood, sports, business, or politics have to say. Too many take one of these mere-human "words" as the last word - letting them settle the belief or life issue for us with finality. But, for Christians, all these words are the wrong final words.

     We must learn to let God's Word - the Bible's Word - be the last word and never overrule it with any other words however popular or persuasive. The Bible's divine inspiration - or condition of being God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17) - means it perfectly expresses the mind of God and His Son, Jesus. Thus, the Book and its Author are one: to agree with the written Word is to agree with the living Word.

     But the ancient enemy of our souls, who stumbled our original parents in Eden, tempted our Lord in the wilderness, and relentlessly buffeted the apostle Paul for years will do his infernal best to confuse the issues we face with other words - popular words, ancient words, impressive words, alluring words, intellectual words, theological words - any words other than the Bible's Words. Why? His profession is deception and lying his skillful art.

     So as we prayerfully ponder the key spiritual, moral, and life decisions that confront us, Satan will try to confuse us with false opinions and findings crafted to turn us away from the Bible's opinions on whatever issues are before us.

     For instance, we wonder how we may receive eternal salvation? The Bible says Jesus taught not once but twice, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:1-8). It adds Paul insisted this new birth is received by grace through faith in Christ and "not" by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet various religions assert our works, including keeping sacraments or other rituals, are needed to save us.

     We wonder who Jesus was, or is? Secular scholars tell us He was just a man with extraordinary powers of persuasion whose life and works were exaggerated and mythologized by His largely ignorant original Galilean followers. But the Bible tells us Jesus was, and is, "the Son of the living God" and He Himself openly acknowledged this (Matthew 16:16).

     We wonder if, as Christians, God wants us to live sanctified lives, or if it doesn't really matter how we live? Many preachers today boldly assert that God doesn't really expect us to live right, just to believe Jesus has already forgiven all our sins, past and future. But the New Testament orders, "Be ye holy in all manner of life" (1 Peter 1:15).

     We wonder about the Baptism with the Holy Spirit? Is it needed or just something those Pentecostals and Charismatics chatter about? Many respectable Christian leaders adamantly claim the new birth gives us the fullness of the Spirit. Yet the Book of Acts gives repeated evidence of believers who, subsequent to their conversion experience, received personal infillings of the Holy Spirit - accompanied by a distinct new power to walk and work with Jesus (see Acts 2, 8, 9, 19).

     We wonder if miracles are still for today? Western materialist scholars scoff at the very idea of the supernatural and, sadly, too many ministers, though more respectful about their objections, agree "the age of miracles has passed." Yet the Bible says the true church is a continuation of not only Jesus' teachings but also His works (Acts 1:1-2) and that He remains "the same" miracle worker, "yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

     We wonder if Jesus is coming back, as some claim? Some teachers propose He came again when He entered your heart. Others disdain the thought of Jesus catching up living believers to heaven. Yet the Bible states that Jesus promised, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that were I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3). And it adds the greatest theologian and visionary in church history, the apostle Paul, also claimed Jesus will appear one day and we will be "caught up" (lit., snatched away) to be forever with Him in heaven" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

     We wonder if abortion is really murder or simply the removal of "human tissue"? Countless doctors, politicians, and social leaders today claim the latter, yet the Bible says God "saw," "knew," "formed," and "ordained" David and Jeremiah while they were still in their mothers' wombs (Psalm 139:14-16; Jeremiah 1:4).

     We wonder if hell is as real as heaven? Many claim hell is just a temporary place of punishment - "purgatory" - where after a period of having our propensity to sin purged, believers will be released into eternal paradise with God. But the Bible never once mentions any place called "purgatory," yet clearly describes a lake of fire that is real, hot, and unending (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15).

     And there are countless other such issues - homosexuality, gender identity, divorce, remarriage, free love, giving, prayer, testing, suffering, water baptism, to name a few - upon which we must render decisions. When we prayerfully study and discover what the Bible says, let us not step back from it because, in that quiet, crucial moment of private decision, Eden's serpent begins practicing his polished craft in our mind: we remember we have a beloved family member, knowledgeable professor, respected pastor, kind mentor, respected historical figure, renowned theologian, or other admired person who believed differently. And they couldn't be wrong, could they? May clarity now prevail!

     Their word was their word; the Bible is God's Word. Their choice was their choice; your choice is your choice. Their words and choices determined their destiny; your words and choices determine your destiny. So now, at last, you must choose your last word.

     From this day forward, in every issue, may we let God's Word be our last word. After all, when it's all said and done, He will have the last word anyway. So why not let His Word be final now.

That's my last word,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261