“The pen is mightier than the sword,” said a playwright in the nineteenth century. “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword” said the Holy Spirit in the first century (Heb. 4:12). Let’s not blunt the sword with the world’s words. Rather, let us use God’s words more and more.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “We also speak these things, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13). The Word of God is composed of the words of God. This is a call to use those words. This is a call to divest ourselves of the “words which man’s wisdom teaches.”
Paul warned Timothy about those who don’t “consent to sound words” (1 Tim 6:3). Jesus said, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
Problem or Sin
The Spirit speaks of both “sin” and “iniquity” hundreds of times each. You might find “mistake” and “problem” a handful of times in some versions of the OT. We like to use the term “sin” related to why Jesus died. But how often do we use the term “sin” in relation to the specifics of our day-to-day lives?
Which expression would agree with the Holy Spirit?
“I have a problem with anger” –or–
“I sinned when I got angry.”
“I made a mistake by not telling them the truth” –or–
“I sinned when I lied.”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins” (1 John 1:9). I do not find the Spirit offering any forgiveness for problems or mistakes.
Alcoholism and Drunkenness
Drunkenness is not a popular word. Alcoholism is, and it is classified as a disease. The problem is not in the meanings of the words but in their connotations. Drunkenness sounds morally wrong. Alcoholism as a disease sounds morally neutral. But how does a person become an alcoholic? Because they got drunk too often. “Too often” varies from person to person. But according to the Spirit, once is too often. The Spirit says: “The deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery… drunkenness… those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom” (Gal. 5:19-21). Adultery once is sin. Drunkenness once is sin, whether it results in alcoholism or not.
“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29). “Corrupt” is rotten, of poor quality, unfit for use, perverted. One type of corrupt speech is to use a word in a way totally unrelated to its accepted meaning. People belittle and mock God’s view of sin, sinners, and their end, when they use words like “hell,” “damn,” and “wicked” in a meaningless way to emphasize a point. We call it cursing.
I’m not thinking about the popular use of this term. I’m thinking about how some Bible scholars use the term. Theologians think they are saying something meaningful when they classify a book or a passage as “apocalyptic.” Rather than clarifying anything, they are more likely adding confusion to God’s Word. You can examine this issue here: Haitian Apocalypse?
Pastor – Elder – Bishop – Minister
Of course, the world is confused about the meanings of these terms, but so is much of the religious world. As Christians, we need to consider well how the Spirit uses these terms. We need to make sure that our words clearly convey the meaning that God intended. Consider What is a Pastor? and Many Ministers in Your Church?
Trinity, Son of God, God the Son – Which?
Believers through the ages have struggled to comprehend the true nature of Jesus. But inventing our own terms is hardly a solution. Rather, we need to explore and latch onto the Spirit’s terms. To explore what the Spirit says, read Is Jesus God?
This religious group, with headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, calls itself “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The term is taken from Isaiah 43:10-12, where God was speaking to Israel. Many of us know that the present-day group teaches many false doctrines, not the least of which is teaching that Jesus is a created being. I therefore usually refuse to call them by their chosen name. Rather, “so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses” or “Brooklyn Witnesses.” You make your own choice.
Some people who claim to follow Jesus identify themselves with man-made terms rather than the Holy Spirit’s terms. To that extent at least, they are confessing they are not followers of Jesus. Consider the significance of the name Christian here: What’s in a Name? Related is an Insight entitled Name of the Church.
We could go on and on, but you make your own list. Consider your own speech. Let’s strive more every day to talk “not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches.”