top of page

What it Means that "Life . . . is in the Power of the Tongue" (Part 1)

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Recently there has been some debate among my Facebook friends about the concept of "speaking life." I used to jump into these debates way too quickly, but thankfully, I have learned to stay out of most of them. There are much more important things to talk about than critiquing everything one particular minister or ministry says.


That being said, I feel pressed in my spirit to share some things regarding this particular debate. As someone who was once deceived by the "word of faith" movement, I've spent a lot of time studying and considering what it actually means that "life and death are in the power of the tongue" (Prov 18:21), and I believe God has shown me some things in the Bible that could be helpful to anyone considering this topic. Because Proverbs 18:21 makes it clear that the tongue can be used to minister life, the question becomes, "What amounts to ministering life with the tongue and what does not?" IS SAYING "I SPEAK LIFE," SPEAKING LIFE? If I walk up to someone and say, "I speak life to you," have I spoken life to that person? If I stand before a congregation and say, "I speak life to you," have I spoken life to that congregation? The Bible actually has a lot to say about what really constitutes "speaking life." First, though, let's take note that there are zero recorded instances of Jesus, any of the apostles, any of the prophets, or any other biblical writer or leader saying the words "I speak life" to anyone or anything. So what does it mean to speak life then? It means we speak the words of eternal life which constitute the Word of Life. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life." (Jhn 6:63 KJV)


"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (Jhn 6:68 KJV) "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." (Phl 2:16 KJV) "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;" (1Jo 1:1 KJV) Jesus said the words that He speaks are life. Peter said Jesus had the words of eternal life. Paul and John called the Word of God they preached the Word of Life. Jesus, Paul, and John spoke Life by speaking the words of God, which they called the words of eternal life. So, if we want to use our tongue to minister life to someone, we should use our tongue to speak the words of God to someone, not tell them, "I speak life to you."


WHAT ARE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE? We've seen that the words of God are words of eternal life, but what specifically are these words? First, they are words that speak of Jesus.


"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (Jhn 14:6 KJV) "When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Col 3:4 KJV) Jesus is the Life, and Jesus is our Life, so to be speaking Life, we must be speaking Jesus. More specifically, though, we must be speaking of His Life-Giving Sacrifice on the Cross.


"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (Jhn 6:51 KJV) "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (Jhn 6:53-58 KJV) The words that tell of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ are like bread from Heaven that, if you eat them by believing them, you will have eternal life! If you want to speak Life, if you want to speak Jesus, speak the words that tell of what Jesus did that we might have eternal life! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Jhn 3:16 KJV) God loved the world and gave His only begotten son on the cross to save us from our sins! Those are the words that, if we believe them, will give us eternal life! That's why the Bible says "the message of the cross is foolishness unto those are perishing (dying), but unto us who are saved (from perishing - by receiving eternal life), it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18). The message of the cross is the power of God to save us from perishing! The message of the cross is the power of God to give us eternal life! Did the Apostle Paul speak life? Of course, but he never said the words "I speak life." Instead, he spoke life by speaking only of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1Co 2:2 KJV) WHAT ABOUT OTHER WORDS OF GOD BESIDES THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS? One might respond to what I've said so far by saying all of Gods words are life, and not just the message of the cross. According to God's Word itself, though, that is not true. The Bible specifically says that no law can give life. "[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." (Gal 3:21 KJV) Righteousness had to come by the death of Christ because no law could give Life (See also Gal 2:21). Only the cross of Christ - where Jesus took our death - could give us Life. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom 8:3-4 KJV) The Law could not produce the Life of Christ in us, so God sent His Son to die on the cross and do what the Law was unable to do. And not only is the Law unable to give Life, it is actually meant to be a ministry of condemnation and death. "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones (shows us this refers to the Law of Moses), was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance (shows us again this is referring to the Law of Moses); which [glory] was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory." (2Co 3:6-9 KJV) (parentheses and emphasis added) "And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death." (Rom 7:10 KJV) God's Law consists of God's words, but when those words are ministered, they don't bring Life. Instead, they bring condemnation and death. For what purpose? "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24 KJV) "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." (Rom 3:19 KJV) The Law was given to show us our guilt before God - to show us that we are dead to Him - that we might be led to believe the words that tell us of a Savior who gave Himself on the cross to redeem us from our sin, thereby delivering us from sin and death and restoring us to Life. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (Jhn 5:24 KJV) So, the words of the Law are not words of Life, which demonstrates that not just any words from the Bible should be seen as the words that minister Life.


Consider this hypothetical scenario. What if you spoke to someone all the words of the Bible, but left out any reference to Jesus or His death on the cross? Would you have spoken Life to them by speaking some word of God other than the message of the cross? Remember our passage from John 6. Jesus said that to have eternal life, we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, referring symbolically to the notion of hearing and believing the message of the His broken body and shed blood. If we haven't heard of His broken body and shed blood, how can we have eternal life? "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." (Jhn 6:53 KJV) Did you know that it is only 9 verses after the above passage that Jesus says His words are life? (John 6:62). So while His broken body and shed blood are themselves the Bread of Life, they are ministered, that they may be consumed, in words that are to be consumed by believing them. Consider this: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto him]. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (Jhn 3:34-36 KJV) If you've heard all the rest of the words of God, but haven't heard and believed the message of the broken body and shed blood of His Son, you shall not see life. Any true Christian knows it is faith in the Gospel that saves. The Bible says this about how faith in the Gospel is acquired though: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom 10:13-17 KJV) The meaning of the passage is this: to call on the Lord and be saved by receiving eternal life, one must believe on Jesus, but to believe on Jesus, one must hear of Jesus, but to hear of Jesus, someone must preach Jesus to them. In short, faith in Jesus comes by hearing the Gospel of Jesus, which is the word of God that brings salvation - passage from death to Life. So, if you speak to someone all the words of the Bible, but leave out all references to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how shall the person believe the Gospel? And without hearing and believing the Gospel, how shall the person believe on Jesus as the Bread of Life who gives His broken body for them? And without believing on Jesus as their Bread of Life, how shall they call on Him? And without calling on Him, how shall they be saved from death? In conclusion, only the words of the Gospel - the message of the cross - contain the power to deliver one from death and bestow upon them eternal life. So, to speak Life to someone, don't just say in prayer, "I speak Life over so and so." Go and tell them something that can actually save them from death. And when you go, don't just say to them, "I speak life to you." Tell them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tell them of the sufficiency of His Sacrifice for theirs sins, of His Resurrection, of His great love for them, and all the rest of the words that comprise what Paul called "the message of the cross." (1 Cor 1:18) In Parts 2 and 3, I will discuss whether and how we should speak life to a situation, circumstance, or barrier in our path and how speaking Life is much more than just speaking empty faith or empty positivity.


97 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 comentário


biniam kassa
biniam kassa
26 de dez. de 2023

this is beautiful

Curtir

If you would like to receive notifications regarding new content, including new articles from the "It Is Written" Blog, new YouTube videos, new podcast episodes, and new events, sign up for our email list by completing the form below.

This is a great option to bypass social media algorithms, which often filter out Christ-centered content!

Subscribe to Email List

Thanks for signing up!

bottom of page