What Does Matthew 12:36 Mean?

"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Matthew 12:36(NASB)

Verse of the Day

Jesus came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as their long-awaited Messiah. He came to set up His kingdom, and like the prophets of old, He called on the people and the priests to.. "repent of your sin." The people had fallen into apostasy and sin, and the entire nation had to repent collectively. Israel, as God's firstborn, adopted son, had to turn back to the God of their forefathers and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - His only begotten Son and anointed King, Who would become the 'firstborn' from the dead and Saviour of the world.

Both priests and people had strayed far from God, and the depravity in their heart was manifested in the fruit they produced. They murdered John the Baptist, who was God's voice in the wilderness, who came to prepare the way of the Lord. They knew that Jesus came from God, yet refused to come to Christ and acknowledge His message, His mission, and His ministry. They dismissed the prophesied signs and wonders He performed, that authenticated His Messianic claims, and they accused the Lord of the Sabbath of breaking their Sabbath laws, when He healed the sick on the Sabbath Day... and they even accused Him of blasphemy, because He called God, His Father.

Despite the truth Christ taught and the warnings He gave, the Scribes and Pharisees finally went too far, by committing the unforgivable sin - they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, by calling Christ the son of the Devil. They called evil, good and good, evil. They accused Him of working through the power of Beelzebub and not through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And so Christ gave a blistering response to these blind leaders of the blind: "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come" -  either in the dispensation of Law or the dispensation of the Church.

No surprise that Christ referred to these Jewish leaders as 'a brood of vipers'. Their accusation proved that the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continuously, for the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. While a good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. Jesus told them that on the day of judgment, people will have to account for every careless word they speak. "For by your words you will be justified and acquitted," He told them, "and by your words, you will be judged and condemned."

Some people today worry that they have committed the unforgivable sin. They worry that they have said something that God will not forgive... and generally it is a sin that is personal to themselves. But no-one who believes that Jesus died for their sin, was buried, and rose again the third day could ever commit this unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit. However, it is a huge warning for all of us to guard the thoughts of our heart, which too often are manifest by the words that we speak. For unless the heart of man is being transformed into the likeness of Christ, by the daily renewing of our mind, through faith in Him,  a life can never be truly reformed.

Oh, there are some good 'actors' that can manifest a form of godliness, through strict discipline, human programming, or legalistic behaviours, while denying the Lord Who bought them. Such people will bring on themselves swift destruction, for God knows the thoughts of the heart and the motives behind our words and actions.

It is a very serious thing to challenge God and speak carelessly about the truth of the gospel and the things of God, and in the light of this warning we should all be careful of the thoughts we think, the words we say, and the motives that manipulate our speech and actions.

Let us examine ourselves to see if we are walking in spirit and truth, growing in grace, and living a life that honours our heavenly Father. Let us reflect on the way we should conduct our lives from this day forward and consider what sort of people we ought to be - in all holy conduct and godliness.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, how quickly legalism and pride can stifle a heart that should be open to You in prayer and praise. How thought-provoking to realise that jealously and self-conceit can blind us to the truth of Who the Lord Jesus is and prevent us from giving Him the honour He deserves. Give me a teachable spirit and keep me from developing biased opinions that conflict with Your Word. Prevent pride and legalism from blinding my eyes to the goodness of God. Cleanse my heart, I pray, so that I speak and act wisely and produce in me good fruit and holy conduct. Forgive me for any idle words I have uttered indiscreetly, and may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be righteous before Your throne. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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