The Poisoning of Words


Glen Berry

First Warning:

SOME WORDS come to us already poisoned. They are inherently evil, no matter how you look at them. They are so obviously not fit for man that has any decency about him at all. They are the ugly, vulgar, nasty, naughty words. We are told—

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister to the hearers.”  (Ephesians 4:29)

Talk about PRACTICAL instruction that God gives us from His Word, that one verse is a prime example. We are necessarily worse off and contaminated more and more when we don’t follow it and obey it!

Here is another one: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word . . .” (James 1:21)

With what  comes on TV these days, and what children hear in schools, on Facebook even, parents know that serpents are lurking and striking!  Almost everywhere you step!

Second Warning:

There are other words that perhaps were suitable and understandable to use two hundred years ago, but with their multiple definitions and shades of meaning, but today, with the modern change of meaning, they are best to stay away from without proper explanation. Words are but vehicles to carry thoughts,  so we want to be as clearly understood as possible so our THOUGHTS will be plainly and clearly understood.

One such word comes to mind, which I shy away from. That is the word “offer.” Technically it has different meanings which would have made it allowable in past generations, but now, when applied to theology and salvation, the Arminian works’ system that presents another gospel so muddies the waters that it falsely presents Christ Jesus and hides His own self-decribed words about Himself and the work He has accomplished. This misuse, then, of the word “offer,” is a misnomer and is used even to teach false doctrine. The only One Christ offered Himself to was God the Father, as He offered Himself to Him as the Supreme Sacrifice for His people, for His bride that God the Father had given Him for an inheritance. That is the biblical use of the term in relation to salvation and redemption.

Third Warning:

This type of poisoned words are all too common, even among the best of men, and with the young and old alike. They are  words that are:



We all have heard them, and sadly, too many times have used them, even when not necessary—if they are EVER necessary. But rather we are told by God to:

“Be ye kind one  to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”(Ephesians 4;32)

That is another PRACTICAL verse to put under your belt, or rather IN YOUR HEART.

And what about adding this:

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, AND ABOUND, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful [BEARING FRUIT] in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:7)

This kind of living will make the serpent skedaddle, run off, flee!

Fourth Warning:

Not to be overlooked are the words of GOSSIP!

These are words of poison too, that are used to hurt, to  tear down, to harm, to belittle. And what makes them dangerous, if said knowledge is not endangering someone, then they are more insidious because the person talked about is not there to defend himself, or to offer any kind of explanation, or to challenge the facts.

Indeed, these are poisonous words used to tear down a person’s reputation. It matters not that the words are true or not. One being charged with wrong-doing should have the opportunity to defend himself against any charges.

Just practice the Golden Rule! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Otherwise, being around you could be like being in a snake-pit!

Fifth Warning:

My father was a minister for nearly  fifty years. One time in my young years,  I went to hear a preacher who preached against missionaries, and the sending of missionaries. Now my father was against what most missionaries teach, false doctrine that misleads souls, and that exhalts man while presenting a powerless God and a weak Jesus. He was also against man-made mission boards sending out missionaries instead of the local church.  So he, too, had problems with the present-day missionary program and system.

But when I returned home and was telling him about what the visiting preacher had said, he gave me a good piece of advice. He said, “Don’t let anyone poison for you a good word. There is nothing wrong with the word ‘missionary.’ ”  I will never forget his  words.

There are many words you don’t like to use because others use them wrongly,  to promote error. But it usually is not the THING or the word that is wrong but the teaching that  comes with it being false or in error. So don’t poison the word but try to understand it’s true and intended meaning. Be charitable and try  to see where the other person is coming  from, and what he is really trying to say.

Recently, I entered a dialogue with some Christian brothers. One had mentioned “the error of progressive sanctification. I had not heard of it referred to as “error” so I simply asked the question; “What do you mean by the ERROR of progressive sanctification?” And that got the dialogue or debate going.

But first let me digress just a moment. Just because some misuse, falsely teach, and mislead regarding “salvation” and “redemption,” does that mean those words are wrong and not to be used. Some use “salvation,” like the communists, and don’t mean Christian salvation at all. So we can’t throw out all words because they are misused.

On the other hand, in some cases we are forced to. For example, take the  word gay. It used to be a great and happy word. But to call someone a “gay” person now would be a tragedy, or could be, because it carries an entirely different meaning. It now speaks of a perverted, sinful life-style that a depraved society is trying its best to get accepted by all  the rest of society, degenerate or not. Even modern lingo of school students has them calling something really good and “cool” as “bad,” like, “That is bad, man,” when they really like something. What a distortion of language!

I remember after I first got married, nearly sixty years ago, my first order of return mailing labels had in the corner a pretty rainbow! Not long after starting to use them, I noticed that the homosexual community had adopted the “rainbow” as their symbol! What a per-version! That is God’s rainbow! They  take it to symbolize a lifestyle that God calls an abomination.  But some things you can’t do much about but complain. So naturally I stopped using those pretty little return mailing labels.

A nice word like “gay,” meaning “happy”  becomes contaminated. God’s sign of promise in the rainbow become a symbol for perversion by degenerates. What will it be next? So we DO have an ongoing problem with changing language! With words being poisoned.

But back to “progressive” sanctification. Of course sanctification is a bible word, but some take only one definition of it. It actually is a one-time event, like God setting His people apart. This is called sanctification. There is nothing “progressive” about it. It was an act of God that He did before the foundation of the world. But then “sanctification” has another meaning as well, which is a continuing, on-going process that goes on in the life of the Christian believer after he has been born again by the Holy Spirit.  In justification and the new birth, the sinner is totally passive, with God doing the work upon him and in his behalf. Like the conception and birth of a child, the baby is totally passive. But when he or she is born, the baby starts showing signs of life. He hungers, he kicks and swings his little arms. He GROWS. He gains strength and muscles. He cries and laughs. He becomes active. It is said of Jesus when He was a child, that He GREW in stature, strength of spirit, and in favor with God and man. That is also what the  born – again  Christian  does.  He  PROGRESSES, meaning he grows and develops into what God designed him to become. He does not stagnant. He  does not retrogress.

“Progressive” has a bad taste because of its used as a political word which is not progression at all but retrogression. The fact is, if a thing that is living is not growing and building new cells, then it is stagnating and declining in retrogression. And that is just what political “progressives” are doing! So they misuse the word.

But when a doctor comes to see a sick baby, or even a healthy baby newly born, he will say to the parents, “Your baby is progressing nicely.” So, you see, it speaks of progress, even what Jesus did after He was born to Mary. Let us not let such a good word be poisoned by misunderstanding! Let us hope that if you have a baby, that he PROGRESSES. So “progressive sanctification” simply means there is an active PROCESS of growth and development as a “babe in Christ.” That is  also the ongoing process of being conformed to Christ, even including good works showing  that our faith is alive and not dead. Being conformed to Christ is what God predestinated for us to become, walking in ordained good  works. Being conformed is a process in the experience of a believer, as he is “perfected.” It speaks of looking more and more like the very image you are looking at. Being gradually “conformed” to it. It, too, is GROWTH. It  takes place ONLY with a person and a soul that has been made spiritually alive and active. It is a process and work of God upon us even as we walk with Him and abide IN Him.

So, rightly understood, there is nothing wrong with the term “progressive sanctification.” it is NOT speaking of the work of setting apart that God did before the world began. In fact, when we have been born again and made alive, from then on we continually yield ourselves more and more to Christ experientially, even in the process of sanctification voluntarily, diligently, with the grace and strength God gives us. As 2 Corinthians 7:1 says,

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves

from all filthiness of the flesh

and spirit, perfecting holiness

in the fear of God.”

Yes, of course we are cleansed passively by the blood of Christ, but this cleansing here we do ourselves by the grace of God as active children of God that are ALIVE, with live faith.

Joseph Hart the hymnwriter rightly said,

“That we’re unholy needs no proof,

We sorely feel the fall;

But Christ has holiness enough

To sanctify us all.”

All our sanctification, progressive, ongoing, and otherwise, all our holy attempts at holy living, even our meditations that we pray to be acceptable in God’s sight, is due to Christ within us, and His grace.

Let us try not  to poison perfectly  good words, or fall into ditches

on either side of

The Strait and Narrow Road of Truth.

May we be given strength

to ever climb higher.

As Paul said, We have not yet obtained.

We are still in the fight, in the battle.


“. . . For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God

by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue

and people, and nation.” (Revelation. 5:9)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s