The Word of God; December 22, 2020

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Every bit of today’s passage is underlined in my Bible, in both languages. However, since what I wrote yesterday touches on the theme of verses 14-16, I’ll let this verse speak for itself. We have a lot of trouble with the Word of God. On the one hand we associate it with the Bible, period. That isn’t wrong, exactly, but it’s not complete. At the same time, we treat the Bible like a good luck charm, something to possess rather than something we allow to fill and possess us. Paul was spot-on when he said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) He needed to specify “the word of Christ” because some of his Jewish readers might limit “the word of God” to the Old Testament. However, even Peter acknowledged that Paul was recording the Word of God. (2 Peter 3:16) The whole Bible is the Word of God, but as long as it remains words on a page, we don’t get the full benefit. That’s why saying “The Bible is the Word of God,” is by itself inadequate. We have to come to the place of confessing, “The Bible is God’s Word to me.” That is, we need to allow it to do the things mentioned in this verse, and respond accordingly. We tend to approach the Bible with a lot of preconceptions, and even refuse to see anything in it that we haven’t thought before. What a waste! One of the most pathetic things to me is people who approach the Bible strictly as a work of literature. They can even be very fond of it, but so long as they take it only on the level of Shakespeare or some other literary great, they cannot find salvation through it, even though the pages drip with the Gospel. Even Jesus touched on this in relation to the scribes and Pharisees of His day. “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40) We have to take the Bible as God speaking to us, and then act on what we hear Him saying.

This is perhaps the greatest message of my ministry. I love to teach the Word, but until it is absorbed and acted on, we don’t get the benefit. I am all too prone to do what is called in computer terms a “data dump,” unloading truth on people without helping them get a handle on it to take it in and digest it. Growing up in a Bible-soaked home was a huge blessing, as was reading through the Bible by age 10, but as a result I often take Biblical truths completely for granted, assuming that my hearers accept and grasp them, when often that is far from the case. I seek to speak the Word of the Lord in my various interactions, but if my life isn’t lining up with my words, then again it is ineffective, and I am no more than a hypocrite. As Paul said, I need to let the Word of God dwell in me richly, so that in and through me it may indeed do everything for which God sends it. (Isaiah 55:11)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the love affair You have given me with Your Word. Help me indeed let it pour through me by Your Spirit, not just as a “data dump” but connecting with my hearers as they need it, so that the works of the devil may be defeated and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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