Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bridling Your Tongue (James 3)

James 3

Theme: Wait for the Judge

3) By bridling your tongue (3:1-12)


This passage seems to show several reasons to control your tongue.

1) Because God judges your tongue (1) 

5:8-9 says, "...the coming of the Lord is at hand...the Judge is standing right at the door..."  2:12 says, "So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.  We will not be judged for our sins, since Christ bore that judgment once for all on the cross (Heb. 10).  But God does judge us in the sense of chastening us (Heb 12), purifying our faith (1 Pet. 1), and purging us from profitless works (1 Cor. 3).  James 3:1-2a indicates all believers (but especially those who want to be teachers), should bridle their tongues, because God will judge them.

2) Because speech steers your conduct (2-5a)

What you say can affect the way you behave, and the course of other people's lives, just like a bit controls the powerful horse, or a rudder steers a large ship.  For this reason, we need to control our tongue.

3) Because words can destroy things (5b-8) 

Like a spark starts a forest fire, an untamed beast, or poisonous animal, the tongue can be unruly and cause immense damage.

4) Because cursing dishonors God (9-12)

Our tongues were made to bless God.  The word "bless", is compound, coming from two roots, "well", and "to speak".  It means to "speak well of" someone or something.  Ephesians 1 says God the Father is "blessed", or well to be spoken of, because He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Since man was made in the image of God, cursing men is a kind of speech which fails to speak well of the God in whose image they were created  We should control our tongues, because they were made to bless God, not curse.

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