Tuesday, April 22, 2008


“His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” – Psalm 55:21

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” - Proverbs 18:21

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” - Matthew 15:18

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” - Colossians 4:6

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” –James 3:6

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” – James 3:7-10

“…so rare a gift of the Spirit is moderation of language.” - John Calvin, Psalm V:237

“Good, godly communication is always dependent upon truth. Lies, falsehood and deception always subvert it. Lies not only distort facts, but they destroy the trust necessary for people to talk with one another.” -Paul Tripp, War of Words, p. 23

Dear COR Family and Friends,

This morning I woke up early thinking about words, and more particularly about words I’ve spoken or written that I would just as soon have taken back. Often when I speak or write what comes out is the result of intemperance and lack of true grace. It happened again last week in an email. It was an off-handed comment, but it revealed my heart. More often than not I speak out of a sinful heart. And my mouth, lips, tongues and vocal cords are simply the organs that formulate what has already been long-considered deep within. Evil speech proceeds from an evil heart. The vestiges of indwelling sin flail about inside of me like a wounded and dying animal and I acutely sense this struggle. I desperately want to be a man of truth and of godly speech.

Herein lies hope. In his book, War of Words, Paul Tripp says this, “The God who created speech and spoke the world into existence, the God who used human words to reveal Himself to His people throughout the ages, comes to this world as the Word, to people who have forsaken Him. He is not only a speaker of truth, He is Truth, and only in Him is there any hope for us. Only in the Word do we find hope to win the war of words and speak again according to our Master’s example and design. The Word became flesh because there was no other way to fix what is broken in us.” (p. 37)

The good news is that the thoroughgoing effect of the gospel will ultimately have its way in my life. My captivity is only temporary. Reversing the fate of Gulliver, the Lilliputians are sent away one by one. Christ has not only died for all of my words (past, present and future), He has put to death a sinful heart from where all of these corruptions begin, and has risen to liberate me from the continual bondage both of my words and my sinful heart. In the glorious and pervasive work of sanctification, progress is being made. Sin is being put to death. My heart is being bent more and more to the Savior. He is seasoning my speech more and more with grace as I see the gospel more clearly. In the gospel He has come to fix what is broken in me.

My prayer for COR is that all of us continue to grow in the grace of gospel speech. My hope is that our collective words would continue to reflect the reality of the Savior’s work in our hearts, because I know both you and I need this desperately.

I am grateful to God for you, and the increasingly evident work of grace in your lives.


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