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“A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.  A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

Proverbs 18:6-7

These two verses parallel each other, which is seen in the chiasm “lips, mouth, mouth, lips”.  The general principle is clear.  One of the primary ways a fool is brought down is through his speech.  Bruce Waltke says, “In starting his quarrel he intends to damage others, but in doing so it boomerangs against him.” The fool is a person who runs his mouth for a variety of reasons, but in the end the always come back to haunt him, sometimes right in the kisser!  Another commentator writes, “The effect of his speech is always to alienate himself from public sympathy and to attract feelings of hostility.”  This proverb helps us to understand that usually the fool’s speech not only causes strife in his relationships, putting distance between him and everyone else, but that this distance simultaneously closes due to inflaming animosity toward himself.  These “unexamined words, hasty counsel, uninvited information, unwise promises and other drivel bring about his own ruin.”

But verse 7 escalates the warning beyond the scope of this world.  The fool not only brings harm upon himself because of his mouth, but his speech finally brings him to eternal ruin.  His words entrap his soul, even unto death.  The unguarded tongue can bring down an entire life… even the soul.  Proverbs 18:20-21 says, “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

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The Resurgence, an arm of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has posted a helpful article outlining John Owen’s On The Moritification Of Sin (you can buy Justin Taylor’s excellent edited version of 3 Owen books combined here, buy the standalone book here or download the original treatise here).  You can also download a 12-page pdf reading summary.  Although Owen is “heavy and hard to read” (JI Packer), it is definitely worth the effort.  Download the reading summary and use the outline to assist as you read through this important work.  It is important because, as Owen says, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”

Today is the one year anniversary of Pastor Dan Cummings’ death.  Death is a reality of life because of sin (Romans 6:23) and it is appointed for man to die once (Hebrews 9:27). But the good news of the gospel is that though sin entered the world and death through sin, there is an abundance of grace and a free gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ.  It is through Jesus Christ’s perfect life and death on the cross that sinners find justification by His blood and reconciliation with God.  And it is this truth that leads Paul to say in Romans 5:21, “so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  For the person who puts their faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins, death is not eternal.  As John Owen wrote, “the Father and his Son intended by the death of Christ to redeem, purge, sanctify, purify, deliver from death”… in Jesus, the death of death has come.  [The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Book II, Chapter III)]

This reminds me of a song from the album Come Weary Saints (which is on sale this month at Sovereign Grace).  The lyrics are below:

It Is Not Death To Die

Come Weary SaintsIt is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

CHORUS:
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore