“And now God has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). The word “abolish” means “to formally do away with, to put an end to, to terminate, to render inactive, and to deprive of power or influence.”
We think of the word abolish in terms of slavery. When slavery was abolished in 1865 it meant there was no legal right for it in our land. People had argued and legislated and fought and died and did everything they could either to get rid of it or to keep it. But once the 13th amendment was ratified, it didn’t matter what your opinion was or how wealthy a landowner you were or how powerful you might be; slavery was abolished.
When Jesus came, the chief foe of mankind was abolished: death. As I was meditating on this scripture, I was thinking about all that this verse means practically. Salvation for the afterlife, yes. Eternity with Christ, yes. But so much more than that. 1 John 3:8 says “The son of God appeared for this reason; to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus told His disciples to pray this way: “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.” That’s a revolutionary prayer! That’s a prayer that administers the victory of the cross HERE and NOW! We’re not just waiting for the ‘sweet by and by.’ We are praying, decreeing, speaking the complete overthrow of Satan’s kingdom of darkness and the culture of Christ’s kingdom here on earth right now.
Speak Christ’s life and liberty over the driver with the Darwin symbol. Bless pedestrians you see walking down the street. Tell that lady at the grocery store with a screaming toddler that she’s a good mom. Pray in the hallways of the public schools and bless the teachers and the administrators. Bless every child who crosses your path. None of this has to be loud and visible. It can all be quiet and subtle and under your breath. But bring life.
The children of Israel didn’t enter the Promised Land because they grumbled. They grumbled about their food. And they complained about their leaders, Moses and Aaron. This is a stark and terrible picture for us, for today (1 Cor. 10:10). We are in danger of not receiving the fullness of God’s promises if we complain.
What the Lord has probably convicted me of more than anything else of late, and what we strive to make a culture in our household, is the importance of always bringing this life, administering this life that Christ made available, through what comes out of our mouths.
It’s wicked to complain about anything. It grieves the Holy Spirit to speak negatively about another person. It’s the same as cursing them. Jesus said we would give an account for every idle word that comes out of our mouths (Matthew 12:36). That verse strikes dread in my heart. The Greek word in that passage for “idle” means every word that doesn’t build up – every word that doesn’t give life!
We can only do this in the power of the Holy Spirit. But when I complain and feel the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I make it a practice to ask forgiveness out loud, to thank God for the person or circumstance which I was complaining about, and then bless them – out loud.
It’s not okay to vent to your husband about another person in the privacy of your own home if venting means cursing them. There is a way to air feelings plainly without tearing down an individual that Christ died to save. There is a way to speak honestly without attacking another member of the Body. And it’s vital we learn this culture.
Never say of your child, “He’s bad.” Or “she’s a troublemaker.” Don’t ever say, “He’s just like his lazy dad” or “She’s going to give me headaches when she’s a teenager.” Even if you observe things that seem very real in the natural, still speak life. Romans 4:17 says “God gives life to the dead and calls into being things that don’t exist as though they were.” He has given us this power to call forth life, and to call into being things that aren’t as though they are. Speak righteousness over your children, day and night.
Our words carry spiritual power with them. Jesus said He’s given us authority over all the works of the devil. When a word departs your mouth it’s an assignment for either an angel or a demon. Life and death lie in the power of the tongue, says Proverbs 18:21).
“Be careful how you jest,” the Lord says. What you say as a joke can be very serious.
In conclusion, I want to address especially our young people. It’s common to wish certain physical features were a little different. Your hair, your skin, your height. But don’t curse your body by speaking negatively about it. Don’t curse your abilities by saying, “I’m no good at writing” or “I stink at math.” Speak life even in the face of challenges. What you say will come to pass.
A woman I know of tells the story of developing chronic and debilitating pain in her legs. Doctors were unable to diagnosis or treat her. Finally, she and her husband prayed about what was causing it, and immediately came to the memory of this woman herself as a teenager. At the time, she didn’t like the shape of her legs and used to complain about them. In essence, she cursed the body God had given her. When she realized what she’d done, she repented and renounced her unholy words, and blessed her legs. And the pain left.
“And now God has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). Our work as a church, our exciting, fulfilling, momentous work, is to administer the abolishment of death to all of creation, and to replace its destructive forces with Christ’s abundant life.