Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:17
The sword can be used for defense but is mostly an offensive weapon. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. But the Greek word used here for “word” is rhema. Logos is the more common Greek word for “word.” Logos refers to God’s word in its entirety. That is why Jesus is called the Logos of God (John 1:1-4). The whole Bible is the logos of God (Hebrews 4:12). Rhema refers to the spoken-word and is a subcategory of logos.
This is really important to understand because Ephesians 6 says that it is the rhema of God that is the sword of the Spirit. Have you ever been reading the Bible (the logos of God) and suddenly the Holy Spirit highlights a passage that seems to speak directly to you in that moment? That’s an example of when the logos became rhema. The Holy Spirit spoke that word directly to your heart.
Or, have you ever been listening to a sermon on a passage of scripture (logos) that you’ve read a thousand times, yet for some reason the Lord speaks through that sermon in a powerful way? That’s an example of when the logos became rhema. The rhema word of God is like a weaponized version of the logos.
It’s not enough just to quote Scripture and think we’re wielding the sword of the Spirit. Satan quoted Scripture as he was tempting Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:6). Demons know Scripture better than most Christians; they know it well enough to distort it, manipulate it, and trivialize it. 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
I saw this a lot in seminary and still see it in my friends who espouse ever more progressive theologies. The authority of Scripture gets eroded with every new interpretation that is introduced. And that’s the point of deception. The point isn’t to get people to avoid Scripture. The point is to get them to misuse one part of Scripture in order to reject the clear teachings of the rest of Scripture. The point is to get this next generation to manipulate Scripture to fit the lifestyle they are comfortable with.
The sword of the Spirit is when the Holy Spirit takes the logos and lights it on fire so that it becomes the weaponized rhema of God. Scripture that is being manipulated to fit the cultural agenda will always sound reasonable and yet have no power to it. That’s one way to tell if it is truly the rhema of God. Rhema always carries with it the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and transform.
The Sadducees were asking Jesus a question trying to manipulate the Scriptures to fit their worldview, and Jesus responds with his own question, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”(Mark 12:24).
The apostle Paul gives Timothy a list of how corrupted people will be in the last days, and, included in that list of characteristics, he writes, “treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power”(2 Timothy 3:4-5). When people use Scripture to have a form of godliness but deny its power, it’s not the sword of the Spirit; it’s not the rhema of God. Rhema comes with power because it is spoken by the Holy Spirit through a person.
In order for us to speak the rhema of God we must actually know and believe the logos of God. If I don’t trust Scripture to be true, then I’ll never speak the rhema with power and authority. One of the secrets to the success of Billy Graham was that he had the audacity to believe the Bible. Because he did, when he spoke the gospel, the logos became rhema and hundreds of thousands of people were saved.
It is why right now around the world churches that affirm the Bible and the Holy Spirit are booming and the progressive denominations that have dissected the Bible are shrinking rapidly. They’ve undermined the logos and completely lost the rhema. They are completely unarmed, swordless as the enemy attacks them.