By Your Words you will be justified … and by your words you will be condemned


Jesus said, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

(Matthew 12:36)

I have more questions on this passage than answers, so I throw it up for discussion.

Did Jesus really mean to say this to everyone, including his disciples, or did he only say it to the Pharisees (see vs 25)? One COULD argue that this passage was only written to the Pharisees and unsaved people like that.

If not, does Jesus mean to say that those who have their sins washed in the blood will give account for every idle word? Does God or does God not cast our sins into the deepest sea of his forgetfulness. How is it that Jesus says to believers "By your words you will be condemned?"

I wonder if anyone could stand under this at all? 

What do YOU think?


About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.


  1. In order to put the two Scripture verses, you mentioned, into perspective I had to back up to verse 22 and read down to verses 36 and 37.

    Here’s how it goes:

    22) Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

    23) And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

    COMMENT: Notice the favorable reaction of the people over the miracle that they had just witnessed. They called Him, “the son of David”. They gave Him a compliment.

    24) But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

    COMMENT: When the Pharisees heard what was said, they had a different reaction. First of all, they addressed Him as “this fellow.” This address showed their contempt for Him. Then they made out like Satan helped Him perform the miracle, which they knew couldn’t be true. They just wanted to slander Him in front of the people. This prompted Jesus to give the following dissertation. He is about to teach them that words and actions have weight.

    25) And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

    26) And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

    27) And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out?

    COMMENT: I love this. Jesus is so clever. He always knows the right thing to ask. Here He turns the tables on them by asking them, “by whom do your children cast [them] out?”

    28) But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

    29) Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

    30) He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

    COMMENT: Here Jesus sums up this part by telling the Pharisees that if they were not for Him, then, they were against Him. Then, He goes on to a more serious matter—blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

    31) Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.

    33) Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit.

    COMMENT: Here Jesus warns the Pharisees that they will be in danger of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost if they are not careful. He also tells them that their actions will show which side they are on when He said, “for the tree is known by [his] fruit”. Next, Jesus gets down to the “heart” of things.

    34) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

    35) A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

    COMMENT: Now He’s telling them that whatever is in the heart comes out the mouth. So, what does this tell the Pharisees? It tells them that their heart is not right.

    36) But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

    37) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    COMMENT: What are idle words? It is words spoken without giving any thought to the consequences of those words. This can be dangerous sometimes. Also, I believe most of what Jesus said was directed toward the Pharisees.

    CONCLUSION: It’s obvious that there were other people present besides the Pharisees, when this miracle took place. The disciples of Jesus would have been present. And then there would have been the people who brought the demon possessed man to Jesus and any others who might have gathered around to witness the miracle and to hear whatever Jesus had to say. He always used whatever circumstances He was in to teach the people. He didn’t want them to make the same mistakes as the Pharisees.

    He also didn’t want the Pharisees to overstep their bounds with their comments. Therefore He issued them a warning to keep them from progressing any further with their line of thought. One must also remember that the people Jesus was addressing were all under the Old Covenant. There were no born again believers present in this audience. The church age of grace had not been ushered in at this time. However, I think the teachings that Jesus gave in this passage are timeless. His words should be heeded by every generation.

    The main points that Jesus brought out are found in verses 30, 33, 35, and 37. (See verses above.) It all boils down to our words and our actions. It tells us and the world that we are either with Jesus, or we are against Him. Those that are for Him are justified. Those that are against Him are condemned. Our words and actions will determine how we will be judged. Those that are condemned will be judged for their sins and every idle word spoken. Those that are justified will be judged for their works of faith and the motive for them. Rewards will be given for work well done.

    I will end with the first part of verse 38:

    38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master…

    COMMENT: Notice the change in address by the scribes and Pharisees. They didn’t call Him “this fellow” again. They called Him, “Master”. It means “teacher”, which is the same as being called “Rabbi”. I guess Jesus got his point across.

    Here is a site that seemed to have a good commentary on this:

  2. lookingforhope2011 says:

    I can see two sides, one is not having faith, but needing a miracle and therefore speaking words of fear instead of the faith we should have. The other side of course is just being idle. So what is idle words?

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