Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. (Psalm 31:5—NKJV)

I have always been interested in learning the last words of famous people. Some remarkable men have had some rather unremarkable last words. Part of the reason for this paradox is the reality that no man knows his time. No matter how much forethought any man may give to his last words that will echo long after his last breath, he may not have the realization that his words really are going to be his final communication. But when a man does have the blessed cognizance that his words will be heard and remembered, it would behoove him to speak eternal truth.

Is it any wonder that our Lord’s last words are recorded for us in Luke 23:46, spoken just before He breathed out His last breath and yielded up His life as the sinless sacrifice so that the sins of His people might be forgiven and our souls would be ransomed? He died, the Just for the unjust. His faithfully lived life fulfilled biblical prophecy concerning the Lamb of God who would die in our stead culminating at the cross. Even as He purposely lived, He purposely died. Since He, alone of all mankind, voluntarily gave up His life, it is certain the words He spoke in finality were to be heard, remembered, and cherished by all those who claim His Name. “’Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.”

Going “into the hands of God” is quite a lively word picture. For an unsaved person, falling into the hands of God is not his most cherished ambition. Hebrews 10:31 reads, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Falling into His hands will be the undoing of the ungodly while committing the keeping of your spirit into His hand through belief in the substitutionary death of Christ is the only hope of salvation. 2 Timothy 1:12 states, “For I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” It is only the believer that honestly can quote, along with our Lord, the words of David found in Psalm 31:5.

The words of our Savior are full of wonder and meaning for what He said, and are also full of meaning for what He did not say. You will readily notice that Jesus only partially quoted the verse for theological precision. As He did in other places (e.g. Luke 4:18–20), His purposely partial quote is full of needful instruction. He could not quote the part every believer gets the right to quote because of what He was accomplishing on the cross. We are the redeemed, He is the Redeemer. He could not be redeemed, but by His death in committing His spirit into the hands of the Father, He was redeeming His own! His quoting had to stop so that you and I may be free to quote the whole verse (Titus 2:14)!

What were believers like Stephen, Polycarp, Luther, and others, saying when they followed our Savior’s lead with their final words? They were tracking the same truth that Psalm 31:5 proclaimed because of their Savior’s redemptive work. They were proclaiming:

    Into Your hand—John 10:27–30 teaches that in the hand of God is eternal security; no one is able to snatch a believer out of the Father’s hand. There is no safer place, indeed, no other place worthy of trust.

  • I commit—Bespeaks utter reliance upon God. It is faith that even in the very midst of trouble has its anchor in the very presence of the Father.
  • My spirit—Even as God breathed into mankind the breath of life, so He grants spiritual life to every converted sinner. It is this living spirit that is who we are and will be forever with Him in eternity. What He has granted is sent back to Him for safe-keeping.
  • For You—Look at the personal relationship that is granted to each saint with his heavenly Father. Communion with God is had only through the virtue of the sinless blood of His Son.
  • Have redeemed—There is a long-standing history of the gracious and continuing evidences of redemption extended to the saint, starting with the cross, extending through his salvation, and through myriad evidences at every twist in his life until he enters into eternity.
  • Me—Similar to spirit but with all the human pathos of personal commitment and gratitude.
  • LORD—Jehovah, the covenant-keeping Name of God.
  • God of Truth—That which characterizes our God is nothing less than truth in its purest and most faithful form. “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1–2, Hebrews 6:18).

What an unabashed declaration of faith! It ranks right up there alongside John 3:16, Romans 10:9–13, and 2 Timothy 1:9, 12. Are you born again so that you may honestly quote Psalm 31:5 as you breathe your last? You would do well to carefully commit this verse to memory and meditate upon it and quote it everyday for your soul’s good. There is much more nourishment found within the words than I have listed here. By God’s grace, be ready to leave the memory of remarkable words for those who remain behind. Trust and obey.