Today we will be looking at the concept being taught in some churches and denominations saying that “speaking in tongues” is the proof of salvation. As with all teachings, you need to search out what scriptures teach and test all things according to the word of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asks the questions “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Salvation is by grace through faith alone. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
So, the Bible does not say that you must speak in tongues; otherwise, you will not inherit eternal life. Instead, what we read in 1 Corinthians 12:30 is “Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” The answer to this question is emphatic “no, not all speak in tongues”.
If you read the surrounding scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 where the Apostle Paul speaks about tongues; it is clear there is nothing in those passages that suggest “tongues” are a sign of salvation. Instead, there is a minimisation of “tongues” because of the church’s problems with its use.
In essence, there is nowhere in scripture that says everyone should expect to receive tongues when accepting Jesus Christ as a real sign of salvation. You can only receive salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The result of salvation is not measured by the ability to speak in tongues; instead, it is measured by your transformed life. Your old self has died, and you are now spiritually born again as a new person in Christ.
Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Examine yourself according to scripture to see if you have genuine saving faith. Take some time to read the book of 1 John, as it outlines some of the characteristics showing your transformation in Christ. Some of these are:
- Do you admit and confess your sins (1 John 1:8)?
- Do you obey God’s word (1 John 2:3-5)?
- Do you love God more than this world (1 John 2:15)?
- Do you love others as Christ has commanded (1 John 3:14)?
- Do you enjoy fellowship with Christ (1 John 1:3)?
- Do you hate sin and instead seek righteousness (1 John 3:5-6) and;
- The fruits of the Spirit as described in the Bible
In conclusion, I encourage you to earnestly desire the higher gifts as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:28-31. Yet there is a more excellent way, and this is the way of love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Amen!