God's Living, Powerful Word
God's Living, Powerful Word (Hebrews 4:12-13)
It is a wonderful statement that the Word of God can refer both to the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the written Word, the Bible. Our text does not make it clear to which it refers. This is of God. God has so joined His living Word to His written Word that they cannot be divided in our thinking. The only Christ we know is the Christ who comes to us on the pages of Scripture. The Word lives because it is His Word. That Word alone gives life.
God's Word Lives
God's Word lives because it is the Word of the living God. God has chosen to pour His very life into His Word. He identifies Himself repeatedly as the "living God." He vivifies His word with His very life. Jesus asserted, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). Our own words die. The words of mere people notoriously date themselves. God attaches His very life to the written Word.
God's Word lives because it gives life. Peter reveals, "You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23). When you first encounter the Word of God you are dead spiritually. It brings you to life and sustains that spiritual life within you. God's Word has an indescribable vitality which breathes, speaks, pleads, and conquers. It wrestles, smites, comforts, smiles, weeps, sings, and whispers. It lives!
God's Word lives because it has inherent energy. When Jesus was arrested, a word from Him forced His adversaries to the ground (John 18:6). Christ will win His final victory over all opposition with His energetic word (Rev. 19:15). The Word of God has an energy that is never without results. It is always full of activity for salvation or for judgment. All spiritual life depends on continued contact with that Word. If you are listless, lifeless, and lethargic spiritually, it relates in some way to separation from the living, written Word. Contact with it gives life.
God's Word Cuts
God's Word cuts superlatively: "Sharper than any double-edged sword" (v. 12). God's Word cuts keener, better, and sharper than the sharpest weapon. A double-edged sword cuts both ways as it moves. "Take . . . the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The Word suggests the short, daggerlike sword of the Roman soldier. As God's Word cuts, it also heals. There is no healing without the cutting that first kills. We must let the Word cut the desires, obsessions, and fixations of our life in order to be healed by the same Word.
God's Word cuts thoroughly: "it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow" (Heb. 4:12). The Word of God alone penetrates to show us everything that inheres in our spiritual and earthly, bodily life. The Word makes the most decisive separations and divisions in life. It separates spirit from soul. Spirit is that part of our life which comes from God. Our soul is the seat of all thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires, volitions, and actions. In lost persons the soul has been separated from the life of the Spirit. God's Word identifies this. The Word of God penetrates our very physical life in the same way. It confronts us with the most radical kind of separations, bones from marrow. Taken together, this Word means that God's Word lays bare the entire person before God with absolute thoroughness. It completely reveals what is spiritual and what is fleshly about us all.
God's Word Exposes
God's Word exposes personally: "It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (v. 12). God's Word sifts, scrutinizes, and exposes the impulses and secret thoughts that belong to the emotional life as well as the designs and purposes that belong to our rational, thinking life. In so doing, God's Word goes to our very hearts. The Book of Hebrews warns us about the heart, the location of who we really are. We must not harden the heart (3:8), for it tends always to stray (v. 10), and God must write His law within our heart (8:10). We must draw near to God with a sincere heart (10:22), and we can do that only with a heart strengthened by His grace (13:9).
God's Word exposes universally: "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." Not only does God search us personally with His Word, but no created thing will escape His search. What He says of mere people He also says of angels, archangels, demons, and all else that exists. Nothing in all creation is invisible to Him. His Word penetrates all.
God's Word exposes powerfully: "Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (v. 13). In the sight of God everything is stripped of all artificial covering (naked) and laid out prostrate before Him. The word itself refers to a wrestler who throws back his adversary and holds back his head so as to expose it thoroughly to sight. Creation which would bow its head and withdraw from God will be powerfully revealed in the presence of God.
What a potent thing is the Word of God. To know the life it gives we must saturate ourselves in that very Word. We must let it cut, penetrate, expose, and then give the only healing that is healing indeed.