by Mike Ratliff
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
In this day in which the truth is said to be unknowable, Christians must rely on the only source of pure truth we have. There is no truth that we can say is the complete truth unless we take it from God’s Word. The Bible is pure truth and it is the authority we rely on in order to have a firm foundation in this lost and dying world that is consuming itself in rebellion against God.
What can we learn from Hebrews 4:12 about this?
The Bible is the word of God and because of that, it is divine. Therefore, we should greatly reverence it as being truly spoken by God. It is living. Unlike my words or your words, the Word of God lives on, whereas our words pass away. The Word of God has a life in itself as the living and incorruptible seed. It creates life where it comes. It can never be destroyed and exterminated. The Protestant Reformation was a movement in protest against the policies of the Roman Catholic Church that forbade the Bible to be in any other form than Latin. This kept the Bible from most people. That is why we should rejoice that God saw fit to bring it about to get His Word into everyone’s hands which makes it possible for people to get it in their hearts.
The Word of God is effectual in that it is living and active or powerful. Unlike many today who say the Bible is a mystery that no one can really understand, we know that a genuine Christian has the Holy Spirit and, therefore, can read, know, and understand it. Through that understanding, we receive conviction and conversion. Also, when we are suffering, we can read it and receive comfort and confirmation. In fact, we should start with prayer and the Word of God before we take our cares to other people. Because it is pure and true the Word of God can raise us to great heights of holiness and joy or happiness.
The Bible is cutting. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. All who touch the Word of God are wounded by it. Some are slain and are reborn gloriously. Others are cut to the heart, which leads them to repentance. Some are hardened by it to their doom. However, those who are Gods, will have their self-righteousness, sin, and unbelief killed by it as they use it. Like an razor sharp sword, the Word of God is piercing. This piercing divides the truth from the lies, the tender from the hard, the belief from the unbelief. It forces its way into the hard heart thereby pulverizing all of our self-righteousness and bases for pride. It causes us to become humble as we submit to the Lordship of Christ as it works in our hearts. No matter how secure or tightly locked up our hearts have become, it can penetrate the smallest opening or make one of its own.
The Word of God is discriminating. It divides the outer from the inner. It shows us that our external religion is what flows from our internal religion. This is our joints and marrow. Genuine Christians may be religious, but they know that it is there personal relationship with God that really counts and they receive this knowledge from God’s Word as it works in the heart to manifest it’s truth there.
The Bible is revealing. It is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. No matter how well hidden we may hold some fleshly, prideful nugget, the Word of God cleaves our hearts like butcher cutting a carcass. It lays open our secrets and tendencies that we share with no one.
Therefore, we must greatly reverence the Word of the God. When we are struggling we should come to it for revival of our hearts. When we are fighting with the infidels of this world who want to destroy the truth, we must come to the Bible and use its power to fight the fight as well as prayer. We must also expose our hearts to it often so that that it will kill our sins and empower us to destroy the evils of the day. We must also allow it to criticize us, and our opinions, and projects, and acts, and all about us.
We must praise God and thank Him for the efficacy of His Word upon our Souls. All of us can remember when God’s Word has pricked out hearts and take the edge off of our lusts. Therefore, praise God and thank Him for that.
Lastly, there are infidels about that tinker with God’s Word and try to make it say what they want it to say. They are false prophets who must be exposed and shunned. The Word of God is too sacred a thing, and preaching too solemn a work, to be toyed and played with. Genuine Christianity is not simply a religion where men can make claims and change truths that are not backed up completely from God’s Word. Those who are truly God’s are accompanied by power and that power is found in God’s Word through the working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Therefore, those who preach and teach from God’s Word must do so in that power, not merely in their own words. Our enemy, Satan, is not compelled to move by our words, however, if we draw the Sword of the Lord to confront him, we must then strike him with its naked edge. In so doing, we will piece the hearts of those to whom we preach and teach. Their consciences will be provoked and their lives will be changed as only God can do it.