The Divine Word
Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…

We are familiar with the Word of God. Like Israel, we possess this treasure in our country, in our families. But, thankful as we ought to be for this great privilege, do we know also the majesty and the power of the Word of God? Do we know that, in possessing, reading, and knowing the Scripture, we are under a mighty, solemn, and decisive influence, and that this Word judges us now, and will judge us at the last day? The expressions which are used here of the Word of God are all applicable to Christ Himself; for He is living, He is the power of God, He came for judgment into the world, He is the Searcher of hearts, His eyes are like a flame of fire. But the reference is to the spoken and written Word. The Scripture, as the written Word, is according to Christ and of Christ; and by it Christ is heard, received, and formed in the soul. Of this written Word, of which Christ is centre and end, as well as author and method, which is inspired by the Holy Ghost and sent by God, the gospel message is the kernel. And hence it is this gospel which especially is called the Word.

1. The Word is living (Revelation 1:18, Greek; John 5:21, 24, 26; John 6:63, 68). God is called the Living One; and Christ the Lord calls Himself the Living One. He is the life, He has life in Himself, and He came to quicken and to give us life abundantly. And the Word which proceedeth out of the mouth and heart of God, the Word of which Christ is the substance, and which is given and watched over by the Spirit, is also living; for God's words are spirit and life. The Word is the seed, which appears insignificant, but which if received in good ground shows its vitality. Hence it is by this Word that souls are born again unto eternal life.

2. The living Word is powerful or energetic. It is compared to the seed which possesses vitality and power. We can see the power or energy of the Word when it fills those that hear and receive it with strong emotions, filling them with fear and terror, with grief and contrition; we can see its power in the sudden and striking changes it produces, when the thoughtless and worldly, the selfish and depraved, are arrested and quickened by its mighty power. But while the earthquake and the fire declare the approach of the Lord, it is in the still small voice that the Lord at last appears to take up His permanent abode. There are the hidden flowers of humility, of forgiving love, of patience and meekness; there are the unseen and unknown daily conflicts and victories; there is the crucifixion of the old man, and the constant renewal of the resurrection-life; and these are especially the triumphs of the power of the Word.

3. The Word cannot be living and energetic without being also a sword, dividing and separating, with piercing and often painful sharpness, that which in our natural state lies together mixed and confused. It comes not to flatter and to soothe; it comes not to encourage us with half-true, half-false encomiums; it does not call the flesh Spirit, but condemns it as flesh and enmity against God. It leads you into the lower Christian life (John 3:30); it discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, the hidden self-complacency, the hidden ambition and self-will; it enters into the very joints and marrow, the energies and sentiments, the motives and springs of our actions, the true character of our rejoicing and mourning, our elevations and depressions; and then you say with the apostle: I have no confidence in the flesh, in my old nature, in me, body, soul, and spirit, as I am of Adam. I dare not trust the sweetest frame. I cannot call my "holy things" holy, for they are full of sin. The Word of God enters into my inmost soul and heart-life, and as a judge both unveils and condemns; what hitherto was hidden, is uncovered; what was disguised, unveiled; what was falsely called good and spiritual, appears now in the bright light of God's countenance; the thoughts and intents of the hearts are discerned. Thus am I brought into God's presence, as when I first was convinced of my sin and my guilt; but I feel more abased, and with a deeper knowledge and sorrow I exclaim: I am vile, and abhor myself in dust and ashes. On, where is Christ? I wish to be found in Him. I wish Him to live in me. What is there in me pleasing to God? Oh that Christ would sing, pray, love, live in me! When the Word thus dwells in us, we give glory to God, and we are spiritually-minded. We live not on mere notions and impressions; we begin to apply our knowledge to our actual state and to our daily walk: we are delivered from hypocrisy, which is since the Fall the great disease of mankind.

(A. Saphir.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

WEB: For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The Cry of the Human Heart for a Personal God
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