A picture of a dart board with a dart in the bullseye. This picture stands for how we can have a perfect tongue through Jesus Christ.

Do none have a perfect tongue? We will all offend or sin with our tongues, but if we turn to God and his grace, he will forgive us of our sinful mouths (2 Chronicles 6:36-42). The reason God will forgive us of our sinful mouths is that “if we confess our sins,” that is to agree that we have sinned, “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). What a wonderful God this is!

Now the world would have us believe that this grace gives us the opportunity to sin. So are we to curse now and repent later? Are we to believe that we always have a second chance at saying the right things? So are we to become sorry for past transgressions made with our mouths and do nothing else? The world would have us to think we can freely make mistakes without prior restraint. “Nobody’s perfect,” the world says. “You,” the world says, “can always ask for forgiveness later. So sin now and repent later.” “Speak your mind and if you say something out of order, just apologize.”

But what a lie from the devil! For Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart, a person’s mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). A confession (the agreement that one has sinned with the mouth) is necessary but still only a profession: a declaration that claims what a person feels to be true—not truth itself. A sorrowful person may confess of their sinful mouth, but what do they speak afterward to make such sorrow true? What is the fruit of their sorrowfulness? “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45).

So after the confession, must come a demonstration, which is the practical operation, performance or fruit of the declaration that proves the profession right. The world, as it does many times, leaves out the importance of turning to God after we confess our sins. But after repentance, the demonstration is necessary.

So it is no secret, then, why we read that we should “leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works” (Hebrews 6:1). Is it not far better to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk? That is to say, why should we “draw near the Lord with our mouth, and with our lips honour him, but have removed our hearts far from him, and our fear toward him is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13)? That is to say, are we not to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves” (James 1:22).

So we read that, “therefore, to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). So we read that “not every one that saith unto Jesus, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of Jesus’s Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21-25). Does not Jesus himself tell us that talk is cheap? For even Jesus Christ, when confronted with many charges, “answered Pontius Pilate to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matthew 27:14) but expressed his love by deed on the cross.

Yes, Jesus can forgive our sins. But the Christian knows that grace is not the final place. No. The Christian goes beyond God’s grace and walks out the very word of God. The Christian becomes a doer of God’s word. This walking out God’s word is different from what the world encourages. The world says, “Say you’re sorry.” Say “I made a mistake. I’ll make it up to you.”

But the world does not require us to live a repentant and perfect life or use a perfect tongue. No! The world says “Don’t worry. You will always make mistakes.” Does it surprise you that the world is too lenient! Why does the world not seek perfection? It does not seek perfection because it neither knows perfection nor desires it. Again, the world says, “nobody’s perfect.” But what a lie! Jesus Christ is perfect!

The Christian knows this and knows that Jesus calls the believer to perfection (Hebrews 6:1). The world rests in imperfection, but the Christian is restless because of perfection. It is far better to reach for perfection than be content with imperfection. What is the harm in our believing that, through the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be perfect, and we can have a perfect tongue? What is the harm in our believing that our tongues, through Jesus Christ, are refined and purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit to perfection?

To be sure, it is better to believe that our tongues can be perfect. When we believe that our tongues can be perfect, we do not give imperfection room to make excuses for us. Therefore, although we may sin with our tongues often, this is no excuse to believe that we cannot have a perfect tongue.