Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Justin and Words

Justin takes chapters 31 through 40 of his first apology to recount all the prophesies in Scripture fulfilled by Christ.  He was born of a virgin, in Bethlehem.  They pierced his hands and feet and gambled for his clothes.  David prophesied that last sentence but that did not happen to him.  It happened to Jesus under the rule of Pontius Pilate, in real time and space.  Jesus sacrificed his body for our sins, something Jupiter would not have done.

Prophetic words are powerful if they are from true prophets.  This section was not as varied.  I thought I would include an article from Tabletalk about words and their power.  Dane Ortlund contributes this piece called "Encourage One Another." In this month's issue.

"Our words to one another about one another not only describe reality.  They also create reality."
How often do we forget this is true?  How did God create the whole world?  He spoke words.  Words can create worlds and give life.  God also allowed his people to be able to change things with their words. 

If we call someone an "idiot", he may not necessarily be one, but if you say it enough, he will start to believe you and lower his standards for himself.  "Specifically, our words are either death-bringing or life-giving."

God's words only give life.  "The 'word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,' is a word that gives life."  Ephesians 1:13.  God the Spirit caused you to hear the word of the Gospel to make you alive to his salvation.  When sinners become believers in Jesus, the transition from speaking words of death to being able to speak living words.  With other believers we are to pass on "horizontally a taste of what we've been given vertically."  God gives his people words of welcome, love, and life.  If a professing Christian still uses filthy language and negative speech, then it is safe to question the authenticity of his faith as God gives words of life and light to his elect.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, Paul calls us to "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up."  What is the "therefore" there for?  We are to encourage because "God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him."  We are guaranteed a happy ending.  Let's celebrate by speaking words of joy and rejoicing.  "Having been shown life through the word of the gospel, we give life through the words we use."

Ortlund considers the words he uses in this article and asks: "Are they bringing life?"

Now that we know we need to encourage people with our words, how do we do it?  Ortlund cites two ways.

1. Say nothing.  At funerals, in hospitals, in big decisions, learn not to spout out words.  We want to say something, but it might have the wrong effect.

2. Say something.  Ortlund did not just contradict himself.  "All our words tumble out impelled by one of two motives.  I am using words either for myself or for you."  So really, we have to think of our words before we say them and decide if I am saying them to make me look good or if I really want to help others.  Do I just want to be clever and wise, or do I want to assuage any pain?  I can think of someone who recently miscarried a baby.  Do I tell her words of wisdom that people say all the time?  Or do I just say nothing?  It take the latter because it is not the time to take attention away from the griever.  It is time to direct her to the Lord instead.  The best way is to focus on Jesus for myself.  He can speak for himself.

What about Justin Martyr?  It was the time in his life when he needed to talk to correct gross misunderstandings of the Christian faith and try to protect the people he loves from unjust litigation.  The pagans needed to know the futility of their rituals, especially when they want to impose them on people who want to follow Jesus.  In this case, the words will cut and hurt, but they will still give life by cutting the poison out of the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment