Today you should read: Matthew 12:15-37
Words of the Heart
If you hang around Center Point, you’re going to hear us quote Romans 10:9–10 a lot—a whole lot. In case you haven’t accidently memorized it from hearing it so much it reads, “9 If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Every time I share this verse with people I mention how I heard Tim once described it. Tim will often use self-deprecating humor to make a point, and with this verse he said something to the effect of, “I’m not a smart man, but when I look at the word “confess” it seems to be spoken out loud; and if we’re speaking to God, then we call that prayer.”
The most amazing fact of the Gospel is that salvation is simply something for which you ask. Sure, the asking is paired with belief, but still, there are no tricks, no gimmicks, just ask for it and it’s yours.
Today’s passage in Matthew gives us insight into this simple truth. Jesus said in verse 37 that, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Are words really so powerful? Thinking back to the verse in Romans, can salvation really be so easily achieved? Yes! But why?
Jesus makes this comment about a person’s speech based on his previous interaction with Pharisees, and clues us in to the power of our words and why they are so powerful. Namely, words express the heart (34) and the only way any of us can judge a person’s heart is by the fruit it produces (33–35). This means, if you’d like to peer into your own heart, just wear a tape recorder around your neck. What do you talk about? How do you joke with friends? Some years back I was convicted that if I had to follow what I said with “I’m just joking,” then it probably shouldn’t have been said. While sarcasm and crude joking is still a struggle for me; some friends from high school can attest, I’ve seen the Holy Spirit clean up my language to a degree that is unfathomable.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, his work in my life is unquestionable. What kind of work does the Holy Spirit do? He draws people to Christ, convicts people of sin, restrains evil, illumines the truth of the Bible and teaches us to apply God’s eternal truths, etc. In addition, we see the Spirit’s activities in scripture like in the healing of the demon-possessed man (22, 28). In fact, as Jesus withdrew from the conflict surrounding his healing on the Sabbath in yesterday’s passage, he continued to heal many by the power of the Spirit (15).
The passage quoted from Isaiah illustrates and validates, not only Jesus’ ministry, but the work of the Spirit through him. We see the compassion of Christ as well as his desire to restore hope in God’s timing, understanding that he is our example of One who lives dependent on the Spirit. So, we ask ourselves, why is blaspheming the Holy Spirit such a big deal?
To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to deny the power of Christ and to negate the power by which people are saved and lives are changed. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not done by crying out in a loud voice while shaking your fist toward the sky, “I blaspheme you, Holy Spirit!” It’s much more subtle. As one commentator writes, “Probably blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is nothing more or less than the unrelenting rejection of his advances.” (NAC)
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit, just like praying to receive Christ, has very little to do with the words that are spoken. However, it has everything to do with the heart that is speaking it. Thankfully, for those of us who are in Christ, we have been given a new heart (2 Cor 5:13, Ps 51). Thus, may the words of our heart reflect the love we have received, the love for which Christ died, and the love for which the Holy Spirit is still active in our lives and in our world.
By: Tyler Short