Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

05/02/2018

Randall Caselman

 

Taking God At His Word

 

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."

 

  The Word of God is living. TheWord is living in two ways. It lives in Jesus. That’s John’s statement: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the Living Word fleshed out as an example for us to imitate. We can see how life is to be lived. We can see what kind of heart, attitude and disposition we are to have. We have an 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. Paul tells us how this can be: It is “God breathed, inspired of God. And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instructions in righteousness, that the child of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.”

 

  The Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world. It has 130 million items on 530 miles of bookshelves. It contains 29 million books, 2 million photographs, and 58 million manuscripts. Yet, among all these volumes, only those that can lay claim to being alive and continually relevant are copies of the Bible.

 

  The Word is active and powerful. The Greek word translated active or powerful is energes, our word for energy. It literally means “at Work.” This word is used only three times in theNew Testament: First Corinthians 16.9, “A great door for effective work has opened to me.” Our word is translated effective. In Philemon 1.6 Paul’s prayer for Philemon is that his faith would be effective. The picture we get is that the Word of God will achieve God’s purpose in the lives of those who read and obey it. Amen? Isaiah has God saying: “My word will not return to Me empty,” but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose forwhich I sent it. Jesus said the Word of truth has the power to sanctify us, cleanse us, and make us holy. Ephesians 5.26 tells us we are cleansed by “the washing with water through the Word.” Indeed, the Word not only enlightens the mind, it changes our attitude and alters our conduct.

 

  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. The letters of Paul were written to people and churches who had distorted the truth and needed correction. The letters of John and Jude were addressed to people who had misunderstood and distorted the faith once delivered. Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia are an example of Jesus' and the Holy Spirit’s divine surgery. The Apostles wrote surgical letters. Even the Old Testament narratives were “written for our learning.” 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. TheBible treats you like human life does… Roughly.”

 

  The Word of God penetrates. “It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes (Our King James reads, intents) of the heart.” It’s difficult to know just exactly what the Writer has in mind here, but I’ll give you my personal thoughts. The Word of God can penetrate into the inner man. It can make a distinction between the thoughts and intents of the heart. The intent of every Child of God is to live a pure life, one devoted to the will and purpose of God. Right? Does this mean our thoughts and behavior are always pure? No! But God can make the distinction, between who we are and who we want to be.

 

  Looking into the Word of God, into the perfect law of liberty, into the mirror of the soul, we are able to see ourselves as we really are versus who we want to be, or ought to be. The Word pierces through our self-deception. It pierces hypocrisy. 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 Holy Word: How we used our time, how we raised our children, how we used the gifts God gave us for ministering in His Kingdom, how we used the money He blessed us with, how we treated people, all people.

 

  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.”

 

—Randall Caselman