Ezekiel 40:1-27; James 3:7-18; Psalms 116:15-117:2; Proverbs 24:28-29
NT: “Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way… Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show that his works are done in the gentleness that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” (James 3:7-10, 13-18 CSB)
The faith that opens the door to saving grace is also the faith that opens the door to transformational grace. Our flesh is stained with sin and hindered by inadequacy. Outside of our redemption and restored relationship with God through faith in Christ, there are things that we cannot do and things that we do not have. An unredeemed person, for instance, does not have a pure heart. Because of that, an unredeemed person cannot tame their tongue. Jesus taught that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). If one’s heart is, at its core, impure, then impure things will come out of the mouth. When we are redeemed and our life-giving relationship with God is restored through faith in Christ, we are given a new heart that has been cleansed from sin and made holy before God. That same grace that came through faith to give us a new heart is also the grace that works in us to stay pure and continue being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus. That grace empowers us to leave behind old sinful patterns and ways of speaking as we submit ourselves to the work of the Lord in us by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes that transformation happens instantaneously, but many times that transformation is a process that takes a while as we learn to walk by the Spirit. Because of that process, it is understandable that a redeemed and fully-restored person would still speak impure, hateful and hurtful things. However understandable it is, it is not acceptable. The person who is full of dynamic living faith will desire and allow unwholesome talk to be rinsed from their life as they are transformed from glory to glory by grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.
An unredeemed person does not have access to the wisdom of God. Instead, they live according to the wisdom of this world which is ultimately informed by the wisdom of the kingdom of darkness. That wisdom is based on lust, envy and self-seeking. When we are redeemed and our life-giving relationship with God is restored through faith in Christ, we are given access to the wisdom from above through the indwelling Holy Spirit. As James explained, that wisdom is “first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense.” The more we walk by living faith in Christ Jesus and the leading of His Holy Spirit, the more we will walk in the wisdom from above instead of the wisdom from below. While it is understandable that a redeemed person would still conduct themselves at times according to the wisdom from below, it is not acceptable. Christ has a much higher standard for us to live by, and that standard is attainable by grace through faith and the work of the Holy Spirit within us. In Christ, grace and mercy abounds – but we need to allow our living faith to accomplish all that Christ has provided to us and made possible for us by grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the transformational grace that is available to me as I continue to place my faith in You. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit that comes to convict of sin and righteousness, fills me with the wisdom from above, and leads me to walk in Your righteousness. Let the effect of my living faith in You continue to be my transformation from glory to glory by grace, and help me to not settle for anything less. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.