Sharper Than a Double-Edged Sword
For the word of God is alive 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. – Heb.4:12 (NIV)
Gilbert West was a famous British poet of the eighteenth century. Although a son of a pastor, he attacked Christianity. West began collecting evidence that Christ Jesus had not been resurrected. Christianity would collapse if he denied the resurrection. While collecting and studying the data, West found that the resurrection of Christ was undeniable. In 1747, after converting to Christianity, he wrote “Observations on the History and Evidence of Jesus Christ's Resurrection”.
In the nineteenth century, we meet Lew Wallace, a Union General in the Civil War, a lawyer, politician, and author. In 1876, Lew Wallace found himself in a train compartment with Robert Ingersoll, a well-known atheist of the day. A favourite pastime of Ingersoll's was grilling new acquaintances about their faith. Despite considering himself a Christian, Wallace didn't attend church, didn't pray regularly, and barely knew the Bible. He was embarrassed by Ingersoll’s questions. He felt he should know more about his faith. Wallace then began his own investigation into the doctrines and traditions of Christianity, culminating in writing the book “Ben-Hur”, which led him to believe in God and the divinity of Christ.
Finally, consider Frank Morrison, a gifted lawyer from the twentieth century who was writing a book titled, “Disproving the Resurrection of Jesus”. After completing his research, he wrote a completely different book, “Who Moved the Stone”, which analyses biblical texts about the events related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The book has since become a classic. Using courtroom rules of evidence, Morrison demonstrated that Jesus rose from the dead. There is no other explanation.
What do all these three people have in common? All these three people encountered God while searching the scriptures.
The Creator of the universe who loves us so much that He has not left us to figure out life on our own. His word not only guides, directs, and leads us, but also transforms us from the inside out. God’s word is power. God promises:
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. – Isaiah 55:11
God's word is powerful for salvation (Rom.1:16). This means that God's word has the power to convert those who hear it. Only God's word can penetrate us like nothing else. Once the Word of God has penetrated our hearts, we will not rest until we have obeyed.
Hebrews 4:12 says God's word is living and active. This means that the Word is effectual; it accomplishes what God intends for it to do.
How is the word made effectual to salvation?
The Spirit of God makes the reading and preaching of the word an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners; of driving them out of themselves and drawing them unto Christ; of conforming them to his image and subduing them to his will; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation. – Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.155
Gilbert West and Jim Morrison set out to disprove the Bible. Instead, they encountered the Living God through His living Word. Wallace thought he could be a Christian without reading God's word. After studying the word, he was transformed beyond his wildest dreams!
Don't underestimate the power of God's word to change lives. “My word… shall not return to me empty, but it… shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Change can come from God's Word when nothing else can.
Have you read the Bible lately? Next time you read God's word, perhaps you will do so with renewed vigour, always on the lookout for verses that leap off the page as you read them. God will show you what He wants you to do. Wait in eager anticipation for God to reveal your next move. Always remember to thank the Lord for leading you through His word.
As I read and study Your Word, may the Spirit of truth open my mind. May I be open to being taught what Your will is for my life. Let Your Word penetrate my whole being. And may I share the pearls of truth You teach me today with a willing heart.
In Jesus' name,