Friday, April 18, 2008

Bone + Marrow; Soul + Sprit

Hebrews 4:12
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 intentions of the heart.
HOW DO WE KNOW WE SAVED? Are we alive in Christ? There is only one instrument that creates, detects, and confirms eternal life in the soul of man; namely, the Word of God. What Hebrews 4:12 says about this Word is, therefore, all important. Consider it with me phrase by phrase.
“The word of God”
The term “word of God” may mean a word spoken by God without a human mouthpiece. But in the New Testament it regularly means a word or a message that a human speaks on God’s behalf. So, for example, Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” So the “word of God” in Hebrews 4:12 probably refers to the truth of God revealed in Scripture that humans speak to each other relying on God’s help to understand it and apply it.
“Living and active”
The Word of God is not a dead word or an ineffective word. It has life in it. And because it has life in it, it produces effects. There is something about the Truth, as God has revealed it, that connects it to God as a source of all life and power. God loves His Word. He is partial to His Word. He honours His Word with His presence and power. If we want our teaching or witness to have power and produce effects, let us stay close to the revealed Word of God.
“Sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow”
What does this living and effective Word do? It pierces. For what purpose? To divide.
To divide what? Soul and spirit. What does that mean?

The writer gives an analogy: It’s like dividing joints and marrow. Joints are the thick, hard outer part of the bone. Marrow is the soft, tender, living inner part of the bone. That is an analogy of “soul and spirit.” The Word of God is like a sword that is sharp enough to cut right through the outer, hard, tough part of a bone to the inner, soft living part of the bone. Some swords, less sharp, may strike a bone and glance off and not penetrate. Some swords may penetrate partway through the tough, thick joint of a bone. But a very sharp, powerful double-edged sword (sharp on each side of the point) will penetrate the joint all the way to the marrow. “Soul and spirit” are like “bone joint and bone marrow.” “Soul” is that invisible dimension of our life that we are by nature. “Spirit” is what we are by supernatural rebirth.

What then is the point in saying that the “word of God” pierces to the “division of soul and spirit”? The point is that it’s the Word of God that reveals to us our true selves. We don't know who we are and we cannot fathom whatis in our souluntil the Word of God reveals it. Without the Word we are deceived. Only the “word of God” can “judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” as Hebrews 4:12 says.

Practically speaking, when we read or hear “the word of God” we sense ourselves pierced. The effect of this piercing is to reveal the truth of our thoughts and our motives and our selves.

Give yourselves to this Word of God, the Bible. Use it to know yourself and confirm your own spiritual life. If there is life, there will be love and joy and a heart to obey the Word. Give yourself to this Word so that your words become the Word of God for others and reveal to them their own spiritual condition.
Oh, how we love Your Word, Father! It is precious beyond all earthly treasures. Incline our hearts to this Word, and break our bondage to other things. Let us see wonders in it. Pierce through our soul and waken spiritual life. Confirm the marrow of our faith and make us real, through and through. Forbid that we would be false to Your faithfulness, and make us mighty in the Spirit.
In Jesus Name Amen.