PP Week 3 - Phil 3
God is more interested in changing you than changing your circumstances.
How is this word of God, the Bible, “living and powerful”? The word of God is not simply a collection of God’s words, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life changing, and dynamic as it works in us. The demands of the word of God require decisions. We not only listen to it, we let it shape our lives. Because the word of God is living, it applied to these first-century Jewish Christians, and it applies as well as to Christians today. The word of God lives, and it gives life to those who believe—energizing this present life and promising eternal life. Most books may appear to be dusty artifacts just sitting on a shelf, but the word of God collected in Scripture vibrates with life. The Pharisees imagined that the word of God was a set of static rules, and modern critics have argued that the word of God is nothing more than an archival record of a nation. Both groups have erred. The word of God—living and powerful—breathes life for people today. God reaches out to those who look into its pages, calling them to life, meeting their needs, expressing their deepest emotions, offering answers to their greatest questions.
The word of God cannot to be taken for granted or disobeyed. The Israelites who rebelled (described at length in previous verses) learned the hard way that when God speaks, they must listen. Going against God means facing judgment and death.
The word of God penetrates through our outer facade and reveals what lies deep inside. The metaphor of a two-edged sword pictures the word of God, like a knife, revealing who we really are on the inside. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual lives. This “two-edged sword” pictures the sharp, short sword that the Roman soldiers used in close combat. The sword’s double edges made it ideal for “cut and thrust” warfare. The word of God, sharper than a two-edged sword, pierces even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow. These words develop the metaphor; they are not a commentary on people’s physiological or spiritual makeup. Nothing can be hidden from God; neither can we hide from ourselves if we sincerely study the word of God. It reaches deep past our outer life as a knife passes through skin. It delves deep into our inner lives, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word translated “is a discerner” can also be translated “judges” (NIV). At this point, our thoughts, motives, attitudes, and intentions are shown to us as being good or evil; we cannot escape God’s judgment on them and we dare not ignore God’s warning to us. We cannot keep secrets from God.