Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


Shaped By The Word


  It was Paul who said we are called to be like Jesus, to conform to His image (Romans 8.29-30). Are there instructions on how this is to be done?  God created us in His image; I think that means with some effort we can become more like Him. It's not impossible is it? Because we are His creation, His invention, off His drawing board, He is qualified to tell us how to live. The Word is our instruction manual. Familiar Scripture needs to be read again: “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Let’s see what we can learn…


  The Word of God is living. The Word is living in two ways. It lives in Jesus. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus, the Living Word, is a fleshed out example for us to imitate. By reading the Gospels, we see how life is to be lived. We see what kind of heart, attitude and disposition we are to have. We have a walking, talking, God in the flesh, example of how to act and react to life as it presents itself daily.


  Scripture is alive because it is perpetually relevant. Amazing isn’t it, that the world can change, culture changes, nations rise and fall; but the Word of God remains the same. It remains compellingly relevant. “And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the child of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” Amazing, it worked for Adam and Eve, Peter and John, you and me.


  The Word is active and powerful. The Word of God will achieve God’s purpose in the lives of those who read and obey it. Isaiah has God saying: “My word will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Jesus said the Word of truth has the power to set us free, sanctifies, cleanses, and make us holy. Ephesians 5.26, tells us we are cleansed by “the washing with water through the Word.” John tells us that walking in the Word of Truth allows the Blood of Jesus to keep us perpetually clean (1 John 1.7).


  The Word is sharper than any sword. The Bible is our most relentless critic. It is sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel and does Divine surgery. When the Bible is read with an open heart, and pure motive, it functions as God intended, as a surgical tool. Reminds me of what Oswald Chambers once said: “If you are religious, it is easier to read some pious book than the Bible. The Bible treats you like human life does… Roughly.”Allow me to give you this challenge: Let's start reading the Word to correct our life, not to prove our correctness. It is wrong to make up our mind to what we believe and how we want to act, and then go to the Bible to prove our convictions. We ought to be spelunkers, read the Bible and allow it to lead where it will.


  The Word of God penetrates “even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God can penetrate into the inner man and can make a distinction between the "thoughts and intents" of the heart.


  Here it is, the intent of every Child of God is to live a life devoted to the will and purpose of God. Right? Does this mean our thoughts and behavior are always pure and Christlike? No! God can make the distinction, between "who we are and who we want to be." Paul said, “I’m not always the man I want to be, when I want to do good, evil is always present. Members of my body are waging war against my mind.” Then he concludes: “But I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.” TheWord pierces through our self-deception. It pierces hypocrisy. It sees through our self-righteousness. The Word divides between motive and behavior.


  The Word of God will judge us.Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Someday we will stand before God and give an account of just how we adjusted our lives to His Word.


  Woodrow Wilson summed it up like this: “You know the Bible is the Word of God when you read it; for in it you will find the key to your own heart, your own happiness, your success and eternal destiny. I beg of you that you read it and find this out for yourselves.” Let us each accept the challenge to be more Christlike by allowing the Word to Shape who we are. Amen?





We must allow the Word of God to confront us,

to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency,

and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.

    —John R.W. Stott