WFW: Cleanse My Lips
Jeremiah 17:16 "You know what came out of my lips; it is right there before You." This is a verse that we were studying in church this past Sunday. Our context was of a person planted like a tree by the river of water, the Word of God. Of course, it's no surprise that God knows every word we've ever uttered; but when you actually think about the implications, it can be kind of intimidating. After all, Jesus said, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt 12:36-37). I've been thinking a lot about this chapter in Jeremiah, and this verse in particular is hard-hitting. How often are we perfect in what we say? We should be -- we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect; Jesus never said a word unless it was what the Father wanted Him to say -- but we are not. Why? Because even perfect people (by God's standards) mess up sometimes. (And I just want to clarify: there is a difference between willfully sinning and messing up.) When we think about this, it can be discouraging. We may think, "Oh, man! God knows all my words? Heaven knows I've said plenty of bad things! But God has them all before Him, and I'm going to be judged by them?! Horrors!" As for me, I always thought, "Sure, God is forgiving, but does this mean that all my bad words are tallied up against me anyway?" But just recently, the Lord reminded me of Isaiah 6:5-8: "So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.' Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs of the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged.' Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.'" I am reminded, here, of a story that Jesse Duplantis told: He said that when he was in heaven and saw Jesus, he said, "But, Lord, I've sinned." (He said that when you are in heaven, all you want to do is repent!) But Jesus immediately answered, "You're forgiven." This is exactly what Isaiah experienced; he said, "Lord, I'm a man of unclean lips!" But the Lord cleansed his lips and said, "Your iniquity is taken away." While I was thinking about Isaiah's experience, I was reminded of a song called "Take Me In." The lyrics are: "Take me in to the Holy of Holies/Take me in by the blood of the Lamb... Take the coal/Cleanse my lips/Here I am." (To hear this song, please see the bottom of this post.) I believe this song is inspired partly by Isaiah's experience and also by this Scripture: "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, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22). Gives new light to the subject, doesn't it? We are made clean by the Blood of Christ -- by Christ's sacrifice; the angel took the coal from the sacrifice on the altar and cleansed Isaiah's lips, and the Lord has taken Christ's Blood from His sacrifice and cleansed ours! Immediately after the angel cleansed Isaiah's lips, he said, "Your iniquity is taken away." God was erasing all of his bad words that were stacked up against him. Psalm 130:3-4 states, "If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared." So you see, we have two choices: either speak good or bad -- either be justified or condemned. If we speak evil, and refuse to repent of it, we will be condemned; but if we speak good (according to God's Word) we will be justified. However, in order to be forgiven -- if we want our lips to be cleansed -- we must repent of every idle/bad thing we've ever spoken and start speaking the Truth of God's Word instead! Then, those iniquities will be taken away! He has cleansed our lips! Why then, do we go and start speaking negativity, especially that which conflicts with God's Word? A pig may go back into the mire after being washed, but why would we ever want to? That's why the Bible constantly says that we should watch what we speak. We would do well to heed these wise words: "So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty" (James 2:12). Colossians 2:13-14 "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."