Bible Devotion Week 2

Some weeks, our devotional will be covering multiple passages read throughout the week. Other weeks, I may focus on just a particular passage. Today, I am going to do the latter from the reading for today from the Gospel of Matthew.

What does Jesus mean by “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”? (Mt 12:37). Does this somehow contradict Gal. 2:16, “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified”?

It’s important to remember that Jesus is referring to the last judgment, “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Mt 12:36). This is also a conversation within a larger debate with the Pharisees, whom Jesus calls a “brood of vipers,” looking for good and bad fruit, and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. All this helps show us that the words can justify our condemn us because they show our hearts true character and allegiance. If we claim to be Christian, but utter blasphemous words, our heart will be shown as not bearing genuine fruit. Another possible reading is that our words will justify us in keeping with Jesus own statement back in Matthew 10:32-33, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” We will be justified or condemned by our words by whether or not we confess Christ or deny him before others.

When your co-worker who is not a Christian asks you about your faith, will your words justify or condemn you? Will you profess your faith in Jesus Christ or downplay his significance, saying something like “I m not that religious.” The warning could not be clearer or more frightening, if we fail to acknowledge Christ in this life he will deny us in the life to come. Let us then avail ourselves of the means of grace available to us. Let us, like the author of Hebrews, “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).

O God of Truth, I thank thee for the holy Scriptures. In them may I learn more of Christ, be enabled to retain his truth and have grace to follow it. Help me to gain profit by what I read, as treasure beyond all treasure, a fountain which can replenish my dry heart, its waters flowing through me as a perennial river on-drawn by thy Holy Spirit.

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