For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12 NASB
Reading scripture regularly is so important to the Christian life. Many followers of Jesus believe they can live the Christian life without immersing themselves in the word of God. But this leaves us open to deception and the ever-changing whims of cultural preference. We need the word of God in our life, regularly bringing us back to the truth.
The word of God is living. It is alive. It moves and breathes when we read it. This is why we can read it a thousand times and never get to the end of its power and wisdom. Like the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, when the Holy Spirit breathes on the word of God, it comes alive to us. Without the Spirit, without ears to hear, you can read and study scripture your whole life and it will only be an ancient text to criticize, writings from a bygone era, as dead as dry bones in a desert valley. Without the Spirit, the Bible is just a book to dissect and reject.
The word of God is active. The word used here in the Greek means “at work.” The root word is where we get the English word “energize.” The word of God speaks to our hearts and begins to expose us. It highlights the good and brings conviction where there is sin. The word of God is at work renewing our mind, changing the way we think and changing how we see the nature of God.
The word of God is a sword that pierces us deeply. It pierces us all the way down to that place where soul and spirit meet inside of us. It pierces our bodies all the way down to where the joints meet, down to our bones. It reaches down to our hearts and into our thoughts, exposing the unhealthy things that exist there.
And with the word of God, it’s a double-edged sword. There are always two sides to the cutting. It declares the good news that salvation is available. Yet, it also demands that we admit we need saving. Those are the two edges of God’s word. It declares that we can be healed, if only we’d admit we need healing.
To those humble enough to admit their need, the sword is a surgical scalpel removing the cancerous tumor of sin. To those offended by the notion that they need saving or that they need healing, the sword cuts painfully into their pride. To the tax-collectors, sinners and prostitutes, this sword meant hope, life, healing and salvation. To the Pharisees, this sword was a constant irritation, a constant cutting against their pride and posture of superiority.
This is the beauty of the Bible. We don’t like people judging us, but we need help exposing our blind sides. There are things about us that need addressed; they need lovingly corrected, so that we can be made aware and be set free from our selfishness and sin. And so we come to the word of God, and it graciously exposes our hidden thoughts and the intensions of our heart. It judges us as we stand naked and exposed before God.
And in this place we don’t receive harsh condemnation, but instead loving correction, full of grace and truth. When we allow the word of God to pierce our lives, we are transformed by love. His kindness leads us to repentance. Like a Father doing surgery on His sons and daughters, we leave our time in the word of God changed, different, encouraged, embolden, loved, forgiven, and hopeful.
Father, thank you for your word! We are grateful for it!