By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Matthew 12:22-45 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to Jesus, and He healed him so that the man who was unable to speak talked and could see. 23 And all the crowds were amazed and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
25 And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he has become divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if by Beelzebul I cast out the demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out the demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or, how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
30 The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 And 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.
33 “Either assume the tree to be good as well as its fruit good, or assume the tree to be bad as well as its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, express any good things? For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart. 35 The good person brings out of his good treasure good things; and the evil person brings out of his evil treasure evil things. 36 But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign; and so no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “Now when the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
In today’s text Jesus says: “Either assume the tree to be good as well as its fruit good, or assume the tree to be bad as well as its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, express any good things? For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart. The good person brings out of his good treasure good things; and the evil person brings out of his evil treasure evil things. But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” The condition of our heart is not necessarily revealed by our words. It is possible to speak deceptively. An evil person can say good things, even though they don’t really mean or believe them. In the end their heart will be revealed not only by what they say, but by what they do. James 1:22 says: Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. People who do not do what they say prove themselves to be hypocrites and will bear the fruit of their hypocrisy. Here Jesus says: by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. In Matthew 7:21-23 He says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” These are not justified by their words, rather they are condemned by their deeds; by practicing lawlessness. Unlike the evil person, a good person, on the other hand, will not speak evil, because by their evil words they would be condemned, so they speak out of the goodness in their heart.
Today’s text says: “Now when the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus says: “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” We have the authority to cast out demons in Jesus name. It is vital though that we don’t stop at just casting them out. Once demons have been cast out, the void that is left must be filled with the Holy Spirit. When evil has gone out the goodness of the Spirit must fill to overflowing. In a similar way, this speaks to an important principle that Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:13-19: Now when Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you yourselves say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” We also have the authority to bind and loose. It is vital that if we bind up sickness, we loose healing and wholeness. If we bind poverty, we need to loose provision. If we bind up strife, we need to loose peace. If we bind division, we need to loose unity. Jesus taught us to pray saying: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven…’ Whenever we bind up the situations and circumstances on earth, we need to loose the realities of heaven to be manifested here on earth; now in our time.
As the psalmist says in Psalm 141: Lord, I call upon You; hurry to me! Listen to my voice when I call to You! May my prayer
be counted as incense before You; The raising of my hands as the evening offering. Set a guard, Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness. Amen. Lord Fill me with the goodness of Your Spirit. Enable me through the power of the Holy Spirit in me to bind up that which is evil and to loose the realities of heaven into the circumstances of the world. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, here on earth, now in this time, in and through my life. Amen.