“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.”
The person who listens learns. Talking too much leads to sin. A loose tongued person is boring and noisy and really not very likely to learn anything new. When you are talking, you cannot listen.
Wisdom is to restrain the tongue since much speech risks sin.
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.”
Her teaching of wisdom and the law is tempered with mercy.
Her speech conveys her wisdom and kindness. Her words build up and don’t tear down. She is not a gossip or a slanderer. When she speaks, it is to help. Her wisdom instructs her children.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
“Corrupt communication”: (or unwholesome communication) the word for unwholesome refers to that which is foul or rotten, such as spoiled fruit or putrid meat. Foul language of any sort should never pass a Christian’s lips, because it is totally out of character with his new life in Christ (see Col. 3:8; James 3:6-8; Psalm 141:3).
Off color jokes, profanity, dirty stories, vulgarity, double entendre, and every other form of corrupt talk should never cross our lips.
“Good to the use of edifying”: The Christian’s speech should be instructive, encouraging, uplifting, (even if it must be corrective), and suited for the moment (Prov. 15:23; 25:11; 24:26).
“Grace unto the hearers”: (Col. 4:6). Because believers have been saved by grace and kept by grace, they should live and speak with grace. Our Lord set the standard (Luke 4:22).
Out of the issue of the heart, the mouth speaketh. If evil communication comes out of your mouth, you have an evil heart. A heart stayed upon God will say good things that will build up the person you are speaking to, and not tear them down.
The tongue is exceedingly difficult to control. It is “a fire,” James says, “the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison” (James 3:6-8).
A powerful motivation for putting off unwholesome talk is that not to do so will grieve the Holy Spirit of God. All sin is painful to God, but sin in His children breaks His heart. When His children refuse to change the ways of the old life for the ways of the new, God grieves. The Holy Spirit of God weeps, as it were, when he sees Christians lying instead of speaking the truth, becoming unrighteously rather than righteously angry, stealing instead of sharing and speaking corrupt instead of uplifting and gracious words.
Let Jesus wash your heart in His blood and cleanse you. Christians must speak things that build up Christ and the one they are speaking to.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”
The final change Paul mentions is from natural vices to supernatural virtues and amount to a summary of the other changes. Man’s natural tendency is to sin and the natural tendency of sin is to grow into greater sin. And a Christian’s sin will grow just like that of an unbeliever. If not checked, our inner sins of bitterness and wrath and anger will inevitably lead to the outwards sins of clamor, slander and other such manifestations of malice.
“Bitterness” reflects a smoldering resentment, a brooding grudge filled attitude. It is the spirit of irritability that keeps a person in perpetual animosity, making him sour and venomous.
Anger is a more internal smoldering. Clamor is the shout or outcry of strife and reflects the public outburst that reveals loss of control. Slander (blasphemia), from which we get blasphemy) is the ongoing defamation of someone that rises from a bitter heart. Malice is the general term for evil that is the root of all vices. All of these, he says, must be put away from you.
These particular sins involve conflict between person and person, believer and unbeliever and worst still, between believer and believer. These are the sins that break fellowship and destroy relationships that weaken the church and mar its testimony before the world.
All of the above mentioned things are attributes of those who are still operating in the flesh. We must get the flesh and all of its bitterness, anger, clamor, and evil speaking under the control of the Spirit of God.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:8, 10). If God is so gracious to us, how much more, then, should we be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to fellow sinners, especially to one another.
In this, we see the actions of someone who has gotten rid of the sin of the flesh and is living for God. We might even say, allowed God to live through him. These things, in verse 32, are signs that follow those who are dead to the flesh and alive to the spirit.
“Even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”: Those who have been forgiven so much by God should, of all people, forgive the relatively small offenses against them by others. The most graphic illustration of this truth is the parable of Matthew 18:21-35
If we expect God to forgive our trespasses, we must forgive one another. We must pattern our life after Christ, if we are His followers. As He is tenderhearted, therefore we must be tenderhearted. Do it for Christ.
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
“Them that are without”: This refers to unbelievers. See notes on Eph., 5:15-16. Believers are called to so live that they establish the credibility of the Christian faith and that they make the most of every evangelistic opportunity.
Paul turns from his responsibilities for evangelism (verses 3-4) to the Colossians’ evangelistic duties (verses 5-6). They are to “walk in wisdom” or “live wisely” in their relations toward “them that are without,” that is, unbelievers.
“Redeeming the time” is to make the most of every opportunity. They are to seize each opportunity to display wise behavior toward the unsaved and to use it as a chance for witnessing.
Our life on this earth is such a short time, so we must make every minute count. Walking in wisdom is walking the path that God has chosen for you, doing the things that God would have you do. This is saying; minister to everyone the love of Jesus.
There are still people in the world who have not heard the name of Jesus. Tell them before it is too late. I talk to church people who have been Christians for years, and they are still sitting in the congregation soaking up all the good teaching. That is fine, but there is a lost world out there that they could be ministering to.
I hear Christians say, I am not qualified. Find someone who knows less than you do about God and share with him, or her, what God has shown you. Be wise and do what you can at whatever level you are. Don’t waste precious time.
“Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
“With grace”: To speak what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful (see notes on Eph. 4:29-31).
“Seasoned with salt”: Just as salt not only flavors, but prevents corruption, the Christians’ speech should act not only as a blessing to others, but as a purifying influence within the decaying society of the world.
An example of wise conduct (verse 5) is daily “speech” that is gracious (“with grace”) in nature. Such speech is to be “seasoned with salt,” that is, characterized by the wisdom of verse 5. Gracious, wise conversation will enable the Colossians to know how “to answer every man” when speaking to him about the gospel.
When teaching others of the Lord Jesus, we must do it in love and gentleness. Salt is a preservative. The salt in the teaching must be something that will help them keep their salvation,after they have received it. The evangelist, who comes through town, many times gets people saved, but the pastor of the church applies the preservative.
The sermons the pastor gives is to help the people live their salvation. They must grow in Jesus. This salt is truth that helps us grow in grace. Paul is saying; tell them to seek the power of God in their own lives.
I believe there should be a time for the new convert in church to ask questions, so the things puzzling them can be answered. Of course, the best answers given are when the Holy Spirit answers them through you.