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A Pure Language

This article was published in the Presbyterian Standard, Issue No. 28, October-December 2002.

WHEN we reflect upon our redemption our thoughts are often confined to the salvation of our souls. What a precious thing it is that our Lord Jesus Christ died to deliver our guilty, sinful souls from the hell we richly deserve! Already we enjoy the beginning of that life which is eternal and we have the prospect of soon departing and being with Christ.

We should remember that our Saviour died to redeem our bodies also. He died to make them temples of the Holy Ghost. To those in Corinth who had abused and misused their own bodies Paul says, "ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1Cor.6:20). This is surely a word for us today, living as we do in a society where the craving for sexual experience and for sensual pleasure generally is unrestrained.

As we strive to honour the Lord with our whole being we must not forget (though we often do) that there is a right use for our tongues. Though it is "a little member" the tongue may be productive of great evil (Jam.3:5). Now that we are saved it should be used to do good. "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Col.4:6). To use our lips to speak for the Lord is both a great privilege and a great challenge.

It is a great privilege for us because we once used our tongues to curse God and to curse our fellow men, did we not? We took the name of our good and gracious God in vain. We sought to wound others with our words, and we were not slow to find fault, to spread gossip and to tell staightforward lies. We did not strive to edify and encourage our neighbour.

It is a great challenge to us because the mouth is the outlet of the heart, and given the sin which remains there it is only too easy for our speech, as Peter's once did, to betray us. Also we live in a world which does not want to hear of God, or of Christ, or of sin, or of salvation. To be silent when we should speak up for our Saviour is a frequent failing.

As believers let us take great care over the way in which we refer to anything by which God makes Himself known and displays His glory. We should view absolutely everything as coming within the scope of the divine purpose and plan. What does this mean practically for the way we speak?

Broadly, it means that when we refer to the universe in which we live we should always speak of creation rather than mere 'nature'. It means that when we discuss events in this world we should talk of providence and never of 'fortune' or 'luck'. And it means especially that when we reveal our hope for the world to come our theme should be that of redemption rather than simply our 'religion'. In these ways we use our speech to bless others and we point them to the Lord. Let us seek grace to speak only this "pure language" (Zeph.3:9).

"And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long" (Psa.35:28).