Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
What a difficult verse to properly and continuously apply to our lives! One cannot turn on the TV, sit in a restaurant, or do almost any other thing, without being surrounded by corrupt words. And yet we are asked to, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of” our mouths. The word for corrupt in the Greek is one which indicates that which is rotten, useless, or depraved. It is used in Matthew 7:17 to describe rotten fruit.
Our words are not to bear such corruption. Rather they are to be that which “is good for necessary edification.” This is set in complete contrast to that which is corrupt. Things that are corrupt sink into themselves. They stink, and they become weak and unable to be held together any longer. However, that which edifies is that which builds up. It provides strength and it causes things to bind together in a stronger way.
This is what we are admonished to do towards those around us. What the focus is on is not our vertical relationship with God so much as our horizontal relationship with our fellow believers and even with those who are not believers. In our speech, we are to form our words so “that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
For believers, we will keep from bringing them down, or from causing them to stumble in their walk with the Lord. For non-believers, we are to be an example of that which is right, which is honorable, and that which points to Christ. If our speech is foul and corrupt, we will only cause them to see such loathsome conversation as the norm among Christians. Thus, there will be no truly visible distinction between us and the rest of the world. To “impart grace to the hearers” is to lead them to that doctrine which saves, meaning Christ. If our words are not in accord with the righteousness of God which is found in Christ, then our hearers will not understand how they are to also properly conduct themselves in a holy and righteous manner.
Life application: Wholesome speech is a hard thing to find in the world today. Because of this, and because we are susceptible to assimilating that which we are constantly immersed in, how easy it is for our own speech to become corrupted and just like the rest of the world. It takes real effort to not allow this to happen, but it is what we are admonished to pursue.
Lord God Almighty, our Creator and Redeemer, You have admonished us in Your word to let no corrupt words proceed out of our mouths. This is a tough precept for us to follow in this world which attacks us with a constant stream of vulgarity. We hear it on TV, we hear it at work, we hear it on the streets. It fills our ears everywhere we go. But we have been asked to not let such talk infiltrate our minds so that we then use the same vile language. Please God, keep us strong in this and help us to not allow course talking or vulgarities to issue from us. Help us to be examples to the world of that which is holy, pure, and proper. Amen.