WORD! Living and Powerful

businesscard-3.5inx2in-h-frontFor the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.NKJV   Hebrews 4:12

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.

God will discern whether or not we make every effort (4:11) and whether or not we have truly come to faith in Christ; nothing can be hidden from God. We may fool ourselves or other Christians with our spiritual lives, but we cannot deceive God. He knows who we really are because the word of God is living and powerful. Does this “word” refer to Jesus or to Scripture? While Jesus Christ is called “the Word” (John 1:1) who came as God’s ultimate communication to humanity, the comparison with a sharp sword indicatesthat “the word of God” here more likely refers to God’s revelation in the Bible. Only in the Gospel of John (1:1) and in Revelation (19:13) is Jesus called “the Word.”

The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.

D. L. Moody


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.

Who really knows you?
Maybe you think your best friend knows the real you. But does this person know how jealous you are of his or her talents, career, or good looks? Does he or she hear your bickering and your put-downs that try to equalize your popularity with his or hers?
Maybe your spouse knows you. But does your spouse know all about your past, your moral weakness, your caving in to crowd pressure? Can he or she read your thoughts about all the other handsome men or pretty women who cross your path and divert your fancy?
Maybe no human knows you that well. But God does. God’s way of talking to you about your secret thoughts—and helping you confront them—is his word, the Bible. The Bible, opened to you through the work of the Holy Spirit, is your clearest mirror and strongest counsel. Read the Bible and see for yourself. Study the Bible and learn about yourself and God. Apply the Bible and change your life.

4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.NIV This verse reiterates the truth expressed in 4:12. God sees everything. Nothing in all creation (literally “no creature”) is hidden from God’s sight. No one can hide anything from God. He sees every thought, intention, and attitude—no matter how secretly these are held; he sees every deed—no matter how secretly it was accomplished. Two thoughts are presented by the phrase “everything is uncovered and laid bare.” (1) We are naked before God. We cannot give excuses, justifications, or reasons—everything is seen for exactly what it is. No one can deceive God. (2) We are exposed, powerless, and defenseless before God. The word refers to the paralyzing grip of a wrestler in a choke hold.

The word of God penetrates like a sword (4:12), exposing us to God himself, to whom we must give account. All people must give an account to God, but without trappings and rationalizations. The Bible speaks about this fact in many places. For example, see the following verses (quoted from the nrsv):

  • Psalm 62:12—”And steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.”
  • Matthew 16:27—”For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.”
  • Acts 17:31—”Because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
  • Romans 2:16—”On the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:4—”I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”

These words give warning that believers must be careful not to drift away, but to obey God wholeheartedly. God is the final Judge. This verse paves the way for the following section describing Jesus Christ as our High Priest. With our lives laid bare before God, we would be hopelessly lost without Christ. Because he took our judgment and serves as our advocate with God, we can rest secure with God.

Nothing can be hidden from God. He knows about everyone everywhere, and everything about us is wide open to his all-seeing eyes. God sees all we do and knows all we think. Even when we are unaware of his presence, he is there. When we try to hide from him, he sees us. We can have no secrets from God. Can your Christian life stand the test? Is your faith living and real?

For more about the series WORD! go to http://www.RidgeFellowship.com
Source: Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Hebrews.

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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