The two-edged sword

Heb. 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

This, too, is a very familiar passage. It’s often quoted by someone trying to wield the Word as a sword against the enemy … but that isn’t the context of this passage at all.

Hebrews 3 begins by speaking about Jesus’ faithfulness and how it exceeds even Moses’ faithfulness. Verses 7-11 then quote Psalm 95:7-11 where God commands us not to harden our hearts as the Jews did under Moses when they were in the wilderness – the very opposite of faithfulness! The remainder of Hebrews 3 is a warning to us not to depart from God.

Hebrews 4 speaks about the goal of Christians to enter into God’s eternal Sabbath rest, and again warns us against falling short through disobedience. This is the context of verses 12-13 which I quoted.

It is the Word of God that pierces our hearts, distinguishing between faith and sin not only in our actions and words but in our thoughts and the desires of our hearts. Just because we desire something does not prove that God was the one who put it there! We read Scripture daily to allow this sharp two-edged sword to lay our hearts open to the light of Truth, so that we might cooperate with the Holy Spirit in removing all that turns us away from Christ. Only through this divine surgery can our loving Father prepare us for entering into His rest.

Let the Word of God speak. It does not wound us where we are healthy: it cuts deep under our wounds to remove what is infected, so that what remains may heal.

Word of God: speak!

Non nobis Domine+

by: Father Dana Jackson

Rector, Parish Church of St. Stephen


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