The Living Word

The writer of Hebrews made the following statement about the word of God: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). In the context, this statement was made as the conclusion of his exhortation in vs. 3-11 that his readers must not fail to enter God’s rest because of disobedience. The not too subtle inference is that it is the power of God’s word that keeps one from disobedience.

When we analyze this statement we are struck by the awesome power that is attributed to God’s word. To say that the word of God is living and active suggests power. That it is sharper than any two-edged sword is also an attribution of power, but it is the next descriptions that are the most amazing of all. The word of God is able to divide between soul and spirit, and joint and marrow. The word of God also judges the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart.

These are distinctions that are virtually impossible for humans to grasp. How does one distinguish between soul and spirit? Theologians and lay people alike are unable to adequately comprehend the difference between them, yet God’s word is able to. How does one separate bone from marrow? Again, humans know the two are distinct entities, but we can hardly conceive of one apart from the other. God’s word, however, has the power to divide the two. And when it comes to one’s thoughts and intentions, we are well aware of our short comings in this aspect of human nature, but God’s word sees clearly even into this difficult realm.

There is no question as to the power of God’s word, whether it is His spoken word, as when He called the universe and everything in it into existence at creation, or when He commanded the flood gates of heaven to overflow the earth in the flood, or the word He gave by means of the Holy Spirit to be written down for our guidance and edification. God’s word has the power to accomplish whatever God intends for it to accomplish, in whatever form He communicates it. In Isa. 55:11 He said, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Nevertheless, there is one important factor that must not be ignored. God’s word is powerless if His people do not avail themselves of it. James exhorted his readers to “receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). Paul exhorted Timothy to “be diligent” (or study) so as to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). And the Bereans were considered more noble-minded than the Thessalonians because they received the word with great eagerness and examined the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).

This is the salient point. The power of Gods word may only be exercised in our lives if we take up His word and make it a living part of our daily walk. In ancient times the people of Judah strayed from God’s ways because they neglected His word. Young king Josiah called them back to God’s word and they became faithful once again under his leadership (2 Chr. 34). If we today ignore and neglect God’s word, we, also, will go astray and the power of God to save us will lie useless in our unopened Bibles. Implant God’s word in your heart and the power of the living word will carry you to the eternal rest God has prepared for the faithful.