Scripture tells us, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). In a debate or discussion, frequently a good point can fail to make an impact because of the manner in which the speaker spe. The same is true when speaking God’s Word. God’s Word is Truth. As children of God, and ambassadors of Christ, we are called upon to “live the truth.” In other words, our lives are to reflect our faith and glorify our Father. So also, what we say is to reflect our faith and glorify our Father.
However, being the sinful creatures that we are it happens frequently that the substance of what we say is lost on the hearer because of the manner in which we speak. We are to speak the Law of God. The Law of God uncovers sin and condemns. As faithful children of God, we cannot diminish the teaching of the Law, fail to pronounce its condemnation on sin, or fail to tell the consequence that befalls those who insist on going their own way rather than God’s. However, the Law stands on its own. We can be firm, clear, and faithful in our expression of God’s Law without being obnoxious or boisterous. The Law needs no embellishment from us. It needs only to be preached, spen, and applied faithfully. We can do so without sounding “holier-than-thou,” or superior to the one to whom we speak. Even in this context, we can speak the truth in love with grace (graciousness) and in a kindly spirit. The Law will do its work, but we do not want our manner to get in the way of having the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.
We are a confessional church. We believe the Bible is God’s Word. We believe that it is truth- all of it. As confessional Christians, we recognize that error is dangerous to the soul, and is therefore to be avoided. All around us, error is rampant – it seeks even to overcome our heart and church. We are to name error, the teacher of error, and alert the hearer to the danger of imbibing error, if only even one time. We condemn error, but even as we point it out to a friend or neighbor, we can speak in such a way that will turn him away, for example, by starting with, “You know your church is wrong.” In stead, patiently but firmly and in love we can show him what the Bible says about the point at issue so that he forsakes the false teacher, the false teaching, and instead follows the Truth. We can in love show him the danger of error, and lead him into Scripture to see the truth, thus manifesting an interest in the welfare of his soul, rather than giving him the impression that we more interested in scoring points. Yes, we are to avoid the false teacher and the false doctrine, but if we speak the truth in love, “speak with grace,” we may leave the door open to speak another day. We cannot embellish the Truth. Firmness and faithfulness in speaking the Truth is not synonymous with boisterousness, brashness and obnoxiousness. Speaking the Truth in love is manifestation of Paul’s credo, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).
Our Lord has called us to preach the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news of our salvation. It is the message of redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. It speaks to us of Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law, and His victory over Satan. The message of our forgiveness through Jesus’ merit and blood, and the message of the resurrection and restoration of life is the only power on earth that will ultimately deliver the stricken sinner and the troubled and weary soul from the sorrows and afflictions of this life to the life in heaven forever. Here too we cannot embellish the Word of Truth. We will want to deliver the Gospel with kindness and “tastefully” (seasoned with salt).” We want to speak the Gospel in words that one not acquainted with Scripture will understand. We want to show the sinner the “real Jesus,” and not the Jesus of modern imagination.
We are called upon in our Christian witness to give answer. What we say is important. Let not the manner in which we say it diminish it, rather let it be “with grace seasoned with salt.”