Grace is in the Bible, along with purity of speech…

Zechariah 3.3-5
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

One of the great things about redemption is the new life God gives those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and, along with this, the new garments, those of praise, holiness and the new man.

God gives His grace, which is His undeserved favour and gift to those who come to Him.

Grace can be defined in many ways, including particular gifts or abilities, a call for certain tasks, God’s favour to accomplish them, and, also, a way of presenting ourselves before the unbelieving world in a Christlike manner.

The filthy garments are removed and replaced with rich robes and a clean turban, the garments of a royal priest in the household of the King of Glory. It is interesting that the turban is called clean, because it covers the head, the area of the mind, the thinking and the imagination of the recipient. This is a single piece of cloth which is carefully wrapped around the head, not the mitre of religious orders. Symbolically, it wraps the mind with God’s thoughts, and guards against uncleanliness.

In Paul’s allusion to the armour of God, using military terms, he calls the spiritual head covering the helmet of salvation. It covers and fills our mind with the gospel of Christ which saves us. It helps us remain conscious of the grace of God which propelled us into His presence through the preached word of faith.

Paul also tells us that we have the responsibility for putting off certain aspects of our old life. We are to leave them behind and not return to them.

Ephesians 4:20-30
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Our former conduct was inspired and to a certain degree, manipulated by the devil, so, if we return to the old man, we subject ourselves once again to his will, which is opposed to the will of God. For this reason Paul admonishes us, by the Holy Ghost, to give no place to the devil. He then continues to list some of the things which can give the devil place in our lives.

Ephesians 4:28-30
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We are admonished to impart grace to the hearers. We are warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom we are sealed until the day of redemption. These are strong words. Our speech can grieve the Holy Spirit. The words we speak should be good for necessary edification – to build up and not to pull down.

Paul repeats this to the Colossians.

Colossians 3:8-10
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.

We have been given this responsibility to put off the old man’s deeds. ‘Filthy language’ is mentioned here, being translated from the Greek aischrologia, which means ‘foul speaking, low and obscene speech’, from aischros, translated ‘filthy, baseness, dishonour’, which has the basic meaning of something that can make ashamed, and logos, ‘word’. There is no doubting what Paul means here.

The Word, through John, admonishes us to to purify ourselves, and to resist sin, making it our responsibility, showing ourselves to be different to the world, which does not know us, because it did not know Him. At the basic level holiness means to be different, but different in a godly manner.

1 John 3:1-6
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

So the onus is on the believer to keep himself or herself clean from sin, and to purify themselves. This includes what comes out of our mouths. Jesus, rebuking religious legalists, warned us that we would be known by our fruits, and, in the same passage, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34-37
“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Our words are important, not just on this earth, but to our eternal wellbeing. What we say indicates what is in our hearts. We will be judged for every idle word.

Jesus calls evil speakers a brood of vipers, not just for the perversity of their language, but for the lack of faith and truth issued from their religious lips. Their lack of self-control and trust in God’s Word means they are incapable of faith-filled clean words.

They are priests who need to have their filthy garments removed and replaced by the rich robes and clean turban of the royal family. Like Joshua they need the old man redeemed and removed to be replaced with the new man, with a new heart, and a new way of living.

Our words matters as much as our conduct. They reveal our heart.

Posted by Steve


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