Last week I came across anger from someone for an off-handed comment I made nearly two years ago, that obviously stung this person. The Lord convicted me in being purposeful in my speech and following what Jesus said: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” (Matt 12:36)
God’s Word says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10) Jesus imputed His righteousness upon me when I came into His grace by faith (Rom 4:23-25). There’s nothing I nor anyone else can do to earn our salvation, it is a gift of grace from the Lord, but I am to walk in the good works He prepared for me to do as bearing fruit because of my faith (James 2:18).
Which brings me to today’s Scripture I’ve ruminated over for several weeks: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1-2) Because of our faith, Jesus has imputed His righteousness on us; it is by His blood we have been cleansed from all our unrighteousness.
Without faith, “which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), it is impossible to please God, “for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). Our salvation comes by faith alone, through Christ alone. He and He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Jesus]” (John 14:6).
What does it mean that “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand”? The Greek word for “access” in this passage means “leading or bringing into the presence of”. Only Jesus Christ can bring us into the presence of God as our mediator (1 Tim 2:5). Before Jesus died and was raised from the grave, only the high priest was allowed in the place of the holy of holies, and he was required to perform his duties perfectly or face death.
Jesus has given us access to the Father in a new and living way, so that we are able to enter into His presence through worship and prayer: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:19-22).
When we come before the Lord, we must come humbly, with our hearts and minds open to what He has for us. As an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor 5:20), I must follow Christ humbly. A believer’s words are to preserve the message of Christ, helping it effectively reach as many people as possible. What a Christian says ought to add value to the conversation; our words should be uplifting or helpful.
Therefore, we must not say idle or off-handed words (Matt 12:36). But instead we are to “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col 4:6) Our renewed Christian lives ought to be clear in the different “flavor” of how we speak and act. While I did make an apology to the person I hurt, I realize that my words grieved the Holy Spirit, for I sinned against God.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1-2) I rejoice that Jesus covered me with His righteousness, and that I continue to stand in the Lord’s grace. But I am also mindful that I must be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19) so that my actions and speech don’t do anything to turn anyone away from Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord for this great reminder!