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August 2023

God's Last Word


Do you need to get in the last word? Generally, people do not want to socialize with a person who always needs to have the last word. Why? Because, true or not, the last word has power! On the one hand, if the last word is untrue, it leaves a bad taste in our mouth. We wish we could correct the lie. On the other hand, the last word might be one hundred percent truthful. But that doesn’t mean it will not sting. Perhaps, you have walked out of a conversation where you were criticized, and your first thought was, “Man, that was a low blow. But he was right.” The last word has power, and can often be very painful or frustrating.

So, consider this thought: when it comes to your sinful thoughts and actions, what is God’s last word? Are you going to walk away from it angry, frustrated, or even a little hurt? Is it going to sting? Will it be right?

Gut instinct says that God’s last word will hurt, because you know there is a disconnect between you and God. God is perfect. You are not. You are facing a God who demands perfection and holiness. He is just and right in his demand. So as a sinful human being standing before a holy God, the result is condemnation. Are you perfect? No. Are you good enough? No. God created humanity in his image—perfect and holy—and humanity said that a piece of fruit that looked pleasing to the eye was of more value than God.

God saw that Adam and Eve chose the devil’s lie over him, and that sin resulted in death and separation from God. Now we also stand in the same place. By ourselves, we stand before God completely and utterly helpless. We sense (because it’s true) that God’s first word is “You are not good enough, will never be good enough, and therefore, you deserve hell.” That hurts. That stings. But it is fair. God could stop right there, and it would be a just thing. If that was God’s last word concerning sin, how can you have any hope? You couldn’t. You can’t.

God’s last word rests in Christ Jesus. Our Lord and Savior took our sins upon his shoulders, carried them to the cross, and paid the price for them. In Jesus, there is forgiveness of sin—not from some sins, but all sins. As hard as you might try to find solutions elsewhere, they will never ever satisfy. Only Jesus can save you. To say that Jesus is simply a moral example for upright living is to say that God’s last word concerning sin is, “You’ve got no chance, so at least try to do something with your life.” When you find yourself in a pit of despair after your sin, you know that whatever you do will not be enough. Without Christ, you would be finished. Jesus himself says it, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

But Christ has taken away your sin. You know this because he shouted, “It is finished!” Our Savior who lived perfectly lived, died, and rose again assures us that God’s last word is a message of forgiveness and grace.

So, since God has declared you forgiven, you’ll stop sinning, right? No. That statement will never be true. But never let forgiveness be a license to keep on sinning. Sinful people sin. Reading one article from a Christian will not fix your addiction, your “I promise it was one time” moment, nor your guilty conscience. But those who believe in Christ stand confidently in the promise of God: “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” That’s God’s final word concerning sin. It’s unfathomable, incredible, and simply gracious.
Always remember that God loves you not because of anything you did, but because his last word—his overwhelming, never-ending, seemingly reckless love—said that Jesus would save you from your sins. Christ has saved you. Forgiveness is yours in Christ. God’s last word will never hurt. It brings indescribable joy.

Nathaniel Brauer is a student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.


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Bought at a price Bible study


How do pastors create a safe environment for sexual sinners to confess their sins and find grace to help in their time of need? The Bought at a Price Bible study is one effective answer. Directed at both “Davids” (porn users) and “Nathans” (concerned fellow believers), this study from CtC team member Dave Hochmuth helps open the discussion about sexual sin with compassion, holiness, and forgiveness.
Lord, quiet my mouth from all my excuses. I want to justify myself. Do not let me. Help me to see Jesus and to hear his Word.


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