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The Cutting Edge of Truth

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than anyone 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 intentions of the heart.” 

There is much to “unpack” in this one verse- so much so that only an incomplete and cursory unfolding of its contents is possible here in this format.  Nonetheless, we’ll endeavor to make a few salient points that may be of benefit to those who have not heard them previously, or have not formerly contemplated their individual merit, regarding “the word of God”…

  • It is both living and active.  Surely we can see the necessity of both, for living but inactive does not allow for the performance of its surgery on the hearts, minds, and bodies of humankind- which is its precise purpose.  And since even Science confirms that “Life begets life” (the Law of Biogenesis) the Word must itself be living in order to beget life, Jas.1:18.  “Dead” doesn’t reproduce. 
  • It is sharp.  A dull scalpel (or sword or any instrument or tool designed to cut) only bruises or tears and thus causes unnecessary and greater injury, which in the end requires not only more time to heal, but more opportunities for infections and other complications to impede or prevent as much.  If you don’t want to be “cut to the quick” (cf. Acts 2:37a, KJV; or “pierced to the heart,” NASB), you’d better leave this Book closed.  But if you’d prefer to have the cancerous tumor of “sin” excised to eternal life, there is no other instrument more exactly suited to the purpose. Indeed, it is your only hope of life eternal, Col.1:5.
  • It is capable.  It can pierce through and divide (separate) that which men and their wisdom and words cannot accurately and consistently divide- even his own soul and spirit.  Likewise, it can judge (Grk. kritikos- to discern, or able to judge or distinguish between) what men and their wisdom and words cannot determine: distinctions between the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Indeed, we often fail to fairly judge our own hearts and minds (cf. Jas.1:22b), let alone those belonging to another, cf. 1Cor.2:11ff

But apart from these internal divisions that the Word accomplishes, it also externally divides between:

  • Light and Dark, John 1:1-5;
  • Good and Evil, Heb.5:12-14;
  • Righteousness and Sin, 1John 3:7-12
  • Sheep and Goats, Matt.25:31-46;
  • Holy and Profane, Eph.5:1-12
  • Justified and Guilty, John 5:28-29; and,
  • Eternally Saved and Eternally Lost, 1Thess.1:5-10.

Thus is the power (Rom.1:16) and capability (Heb.4:12) of “the word of God” ­– that “living and active” “sword of the Spirit” (Eph.6:17b)!  A well-made and sharp cutting tool is both tremendously beneficial and perilously dangerous- take care with how and to what purpose you use it. 

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