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The Word as Sword (1) By Babatunde Olugboji

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The Word as Sword (1) By Babatunde Olugboji 

Last week we discussed Jeremiah’s depiction of God’s Word as fire: “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.” (Jeremiah 20:9)  And the week before, the focus was on the Word as that powerful tool called a hammer. This week, we’ll closely examine the Word as a sharp sword.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that God’s Word is more than simply a historical record of events and people: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. (Hebrew 4:12) What is the significance of the “two-edged sword?” 

This phrase is used in other places in the New Testament, so it must be very significant. When Apostle John received his vision of Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, he said, “And he had in hi5s right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength.” (Revelation 1:16)

The Bible is making us understand that the Word is like a sword, and a sword has two edges, cutting both ways and doing terrible damage to an aggressor. Ephesians 6:17 calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Remember, the expression “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly, vividly, in unambiguous terms and indisputable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.

In this passage, the Word refers to His revelation in a general sense, meaning any method God uses to communicate with human beings. Our principal spiritual exposure is through God’s written Word, the Bible. The Scripture tells us that the Word of God is alive and active, meaning it not only lives but works.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into these two attributes of God’s revelation to humanity.

The original Greek word translated here as “living” means “to have life” or “alive.” The Word of God is alive because God is a living God (Hebrew 3:12). Jesus said, “The very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). In the parable of the Sower, Jesus compared God’s Word to seed (Matthew 13:1–23). Seed, like the Word, is a living creature that, when scattered and sown in fertile soil, brings forth abundant life.

Followers of Christ like you and I are made alive spiritually and eternally because we are “born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God”. (1 Peter 1:23) Believers “enter God’s eternal rest,” meaning we receive God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith alone and not by what we do or self-effort, (Ephesians 2:8–9) through the life-giving power of God’s Word.

This truth is the main point the writer of Hebrews was driving home in the previous verses (Hebrew 4:1–11), that no one can enter God’s true rest except those in whom God’s message has taken profound root and total control. God does the work of salvation by the power of His Word when we submit to His authority and trust Him to save us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Is the Word alive in you? What does it mean for the Word to be active? We’ll continue the conversation next week.

Have a great week.

Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column  written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.

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