By Your Words

It is usually in the little things that we are betrayed. “Loose lips sink ships,” a phrase created by the War Advertising Council during WWII, reminded people that even the most benign comment might contain information that would betray the war effort. God places a premium on the words we use and how we use them. Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

During the Restoration Movement in America, many sincere religious people discovered that a sure way in which to “go back to the Bible” was to begin calling Bible things by Bible names, i.e., using words as God used them. It was the implementation of this principle that ultimately distanced members of the Lord’s church from their denominational friends.

Today, many in churches of Christ have lost their uniqueness, their sense of identity. Many have become comfortable with religious terms either misapplied or wholly absent from the Scripture. People speak of “our church” when Jesus said it was His church (Matthew 16:18); and call the pile of bricks in which the church (the people) meet a “church.” Some regularly call the preacher (an evangelist) a “pastor” (which he is not), giving him an undeserved and unscriptural title (Matthew 23:8-11).

When I joined the US Navy, there was no question that I was from Texas. My words betrayed me. Can people tell you are a Christian? Do your words justify or condemn you?

JDS