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January 1, 2009
By Bill Johnston, associate pastor
Dawson Memorial Church, Birmingham
Last words are important. Historians have long noted the final words of the famous. One such utterance was given in 1519 by Leonardo da Vinci, who said, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Queen Elizabeth I of England died in 1603, saying, “All my possessions for a moment of time.” Union Gen. John Sedgwick was killed in battle in 1864. His last words came as he surveyed the enemy’s lines. When Sedgwick was warned that he was too close, he said, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist … .”
As we enter 2009, getting the last word on several matters is important. One is resentment. Perhaps you have been wronged or hurt by someone. Resentment is a terrible companion. One writer said, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.
Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Others have said holding on to resentment is like giving yourself poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Another is past failure. Looking back with regret inhibits your personal productivity. I heard it said by someone who was commended for his good judgment that “good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment.”
The most important matter to have the last word on is one’s personal assurance of salvation. The Bible makes it clear that “... all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We are further warned in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” One must place his or her personal trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Again the apostle Paul said in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Knowing God comes from knowing Jesus and trusting His Word when it says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).