“For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

He always uses it to bring about healing and wholeness, not bludgeoning or beating.

“Living. . .powerful. . .piercing. . .discerning.”

Quite a list of descriptive terms for God’s Word, isn’t it?  That’s why we should never casually discount or discard any sermon we hear or any passage we read from the written Word—for the Great Physician has specifically designed it to be used as His “Scalpel of the Soul.”

How thankful we should be He’s designed it so—for a scalpel’s blade is quite small and incredibly sharp.  Too often God’s Word is used more like a bolo or machete. . . whacking and hacking in a wholesale fashion. . .leaving the hearers or readers bruised and bleeding.  And, subsequently, the response is “Thanks, I needed that!” as they engage in guilt atonement.

But, again, God’s Word was never intended to be used in that way.

This doesn’t mean the preaching or reading of His Word will not produce conviction or a “pricking in the conscience”—for it will (Acts 2:37; 9:1-9).  However, just as a scalpel is used in a skillful way by trained hands so will the Holy Spirit use the right handling of God’s Word to bring about “Godly sorrow that produces genuine conviction and repentance” (II Cor. 7:10).

The anonymous author’s description of “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow” is taken from the priest’s actions when an animal had been brought for sacrifice.  After slitting its throat, the poor beast was split in half by a sharp knife, starting at its chin, going upward through its skull and continuing all the way to its tailbone.  Its spine was halved, revealing the marrow within each of the vertebrae.  Both inward halves of the animal were then examined to see if they were “without blemish” (Ex. 12:5; Lev. 1:3, 10) before the offering could be accepted.

That’s why we should be thankful for Jesus’ giving of Himself as God’s sinless “Lamb that takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29, 36; II Cor. 5:21).  HE became OUR substitute and it’s by our accepting HIS sacrifice (Himself) that we are “freed from the curse of the Law” (Lev. 27:26; Gal. 3:10, 13).  Hallelujah!!

Yet, realizing and resting in this is only the beginning of the Journey, Pilgrim.  Even though we’re “justified (adopted, pardoned) freely by Grace through His redemption” (Rom. 3:24), it’s through a daily “denying of ourselves” (Lk. 9:23-26) and “dying to ourselves” (Gal. 2:20) through sanctification (“being made holy, set aside, transformed into Christ’s likeness, etc.”) that we come “to know Him and the power of His resurrection. . .” (Phil. 3:10a).

Simply put, we should never become “saved and satisfied”. . .becoming casual and complacent in our walk of faith. . .not when we’ve been “bought with so great a Price” (I Cor. 6:20).  Instead, we should ever remember He is a “Discerner of both our thoughts and inward motives” and should seek to glorify Him in all we think, say and do.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna January 21, 2011

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