Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings ~ The Living Activity of God’s Word

          The Bible stands out as the only book in the world that can make the claim to be the “living and active” word of God. In God’s own breathed-out words,[1] this is what we know: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.[2]

          In the letters to the seven churches,[3] the way Jesus introduces himself to each church is of huge significance. This week it is Jesus’ announcement to the Pergamum church that calls us to consider how we need to know, “The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.”[4]Jesus chose this as his focus out of the description of him in Revelation 1. There we are told that, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword...”[5]

          What’s the point? That Jesus speaks the word of God, and the word of God slices through everything in both conviction to repentance, and conviction to judgment. In other words, his words cut both ways, to save those who repent and trust in his words, and to judge those who stand in pride against his words.

          Combining these revelations of the word of God coming out of the mouth of the Word of God, here are some deeper thoughts on Hebrews 4:12.

          …the word of God”: this is what we are dealing with. We cannot find a better word, or a higher word. Contradictory words, and competing words, are powerless to withstand the word of God. Every word of man is like the squeaking of a baby’s toy. The words of God are powerful beyond imagining because they are the words of God.

          …is living”: we must not think of the Scriptures as nothing more than words made of ink printed on paper. They are that, but they are not only that. The Scriptures give us the words in print-form, but that is not all they are. We speak them to one another. We hear them in our inner beings. We read them one day and they work the life of God into our hearts in one way. On another day, we read the same Scriptures as before and their living reality speaks something different into our souls. They are living, and must be treated as living. As Jesus breathed his life into dust and created a living being, so he breathes out living words that remain alive even though captured on paper.

          …and active”: The words of God are actively doing things. This is what God declared some twenty-seven centuries ago:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.[6]

          God’s word goes out from God’s mouth and “accomplishes” whatever God purposed for it to do. This is why the book of Revelation is so important to us. It tells us what God has purposed to do. We are NOT to put our faith in how well we have interpreted these words. Instead, we put our faith in this: that what God has written will accomplish exactly what God purposed for it to do, and this word will succeed in each and every thing God sent it out to do.

          …sharper than any two-edged sword”:          In any way we can imagine the sharpness of a two-edged sword honed to its finest edge, the word of God is sharper than that. No two-edged sword of man is living in itself, or active in itself. Every manmade sword is dead, is lifeless, is powerless. The two-edged swords of man are nothing unless a man lifts them up and uses them.

          However, the word of God is living and active in itself, and it is sharper than anything we could imagine of a manmade two-edged sword. In every way we can think of a two-edged sword giving an adequate defense to a Roman soldier, the word of God is alive and active to give a more-than-adequate defense to the children of God. In every way we can imagine the Roman soldiers using their two-edged swords to put their enemies to death, so we must see that the word of God is alive and active in confronting the nations. The word of God cannot be resisted, but will go out and accomplish exactly what God intends for it to do, and so we must welcome whatever God has intended to do with us through his word.

          …piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”: Why are we surprised when God’s word pierces us? It is living and active. No surgeon’s hand is required. God’s word pierces us. It cuts through pretense. It seeks to pierce us through with the living truth that gives life, and to free us from the cancer of sin, and error, and death. It comes actively, working to accomplish God-sized things in our hearts.

          After we are given this pointed description of God’s word that comes from Jesus’ mouth, we are given this clarification: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”[7] The vision of Jesus in Revelation 1 tells us that, “His eyes were like a flame of fire,”[8] and then that, “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.”[9] The writer to the Hebrews combined these same thoughts by telling us that the word of God is the living and active two-edged sword, and that this sword comes from the one who sees everything.

          Nothing is hidden from Jesus, and no one can hide from his word. Although he graciously holds off his words of condemnation until the judgment, his apparent silence is not approval of the sins of man. He sees what every person is doing, and he has already spoken living words that will actively bring about either our deliverance or our condemnation.

          In this there is both comfort and conviction. The comfort is that it doesn’t matter what words people speak against us if the Lord our God has spoken words of peace and grace and goodness to us. Many will give their opinion of the church and our ministries. Jesus was called a blasphemer[10], a demonized man[11], a glutton and a drunkard.[12] Paul was accused of things he knew he was not doing[13]. The words of man have no hold on us if the words of Jesus Christ have already pierced our hearts with life. At the same time, if the words of man have wounded us, it is the words of Jesus Christ that are the healing ointment to those wounds.

          The conviction is that it doesn’t matter what we, or anyone else thinks of ourselves, or our works; it is only what Jesus himself says about them that matters. It doesn’t matter what is in season in the world, what they like to hear from the church, or how they like to have their ears tickled with the fine words of man. It only matters what the Lord Jesus Christ says with the word of his mouth. The world around us could approve of every one of our sins, but the double-edged sword of the word of God will treat our sins exactly as God has spoken. When Jesus told five of the seven churches “I have this against you…” it did not matter who approved of those things.

          As I age, it becomes more apparent that I must take diet and exercise far more seriously in order to maintain good health until the end of my days. Since the word of God is living and active, we must feed on the life of this word, and exercise in the activity of this word. As Jesus himself spoke from the double-edged sword that comes from his mouth: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”[14]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] II Timothy 3:16-17
[2] Hebrews 4:12
[3] Revelation 2-3
[4] Revelation 2:12
[5] Revelation 1:16
[6] Isaiah 55:10-11
[7] Hebrews 4:13
[8] Revelation 1:14
[9] Revelation 1:16
[10] Matthew 26:65
[11] Matthew 9:34
[12] Luke 7:34
[13] Acts 26, much of II Corinthians is Paul’s defense against false accusations
[14] Matthew 4:4

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