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. Hebrews 4:12
The conjunction “for” connects this verse directly to verse 11 (“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience”). We enter into God’s rest by submitting to the complete examination and deep spiritual surgery that comes from exposure to God’s Word. God’s Word is anything that God speaks. It is the expression of the character, desires and purposes of God himself. We have God’s Word conveyed to us in written form through the Bible. This Word, throughout both the Old Testament and New Testament, is dynamic, active and ultimately effective in accomplishing God’s purposes. It is like a sharp sword that cuts into our innermost being in order to discern whether our thoughts and motive are worthy or unworthy, spiritual or unspiritual. Like a surgeons scalpel, it cuts away the spiritual corruption from our lives and brings healing and life to those who submit to the Word in faith. Yet, like a warrior’s sword, God’s Word brings judgement and destruction on those who openly turn from and defy it.
God’s Word can penetrate our lives and inner beings so precisely that it discerns and defines the obscure dividing line between “soul” and “spirit”. “Soul”, psyche in Greek, refers to our inner life aside from our spiritual experience-our life in relation to ourselves (i.e. our emotions, thoughts, desires and choices). Spirit, pneuma in Greek, here means the human spirit; in the New Testament this refers to the spiritual dimension of our being-our life in relation to God. God’s Word awakens and strengthens his life in our spirit, and it exposes our own “selfishness” (i.e. our own motives and desires) when that part of us conflicts with the life that God is developing within our spirit. By willingly submitting to God’s life-penetrating Word, our hearts will be softened and changed so that we can truly take on Godly character traits and experience peace and rest with him. The alternative is to allow our hearts to become hardened against God’s Word. This is when we lose faith and find ourselves condemned by the Word of God. Verses 12-13 (“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. 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”) remind us of the seriousness of our choices when responding to God and his Word.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Exodus 28, Matthew 25:31-26:13, Psalm 31:9-18 and Proverbs 8:12-13