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Characteristics Of God’s Word

The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
–Hebrews 4:12

In Hebrews 4:12, we learn the characteristics of God’s Word that make it so effective. First of all, the Word of God is living. It is not some dead piece of literature; it is a living piece of literature. Think about this: How many people do you think get up at 7:30 on a weekend morning, get dressed, get their children up, and go to a central location to listen to a lecture on the works of William Shakespeare? How many people gather weekly to listen to a lecture about the works of Aristotle? How many people use their day off to discuss the writings of Plato? Yet today, millions of people all around the world get up and go to a church–some of them at the risk of their own lives–and they listen to the Word of God. Why is that? Because the Word of God is alive. That is what makes it different from any other book that has been written. Jesus said in John 6:63, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Not only is the Word of God living, but the writer said it is also active. That word “active” means “full of energy.” When our girls were little, we went to the San Diego Zoo. I remember seeing two giant turtles there that were absolutely motionless. Their eyes blinked occasionally, but they did not move. They were just about as motionless as I am in the evening when I come home and plop down in my chair in front of the television set, and Amy comes over to check my pulse to be sure I am alive. I am alive, but I am not very active. But that is not true about the Word of God. The Word of God is living, and it is active.

Third, the Word of God is sharp. In fact, it is sharper than any two-edged Roman sword. My Gillette razor has about four blades on one side. It is a one-sided razor. But the Roman two-edged sword was sharp on both edges, so when a Roman soldier would slice through somebody in one direction, he would then go in the opposite direction and finish the job. That is the power of the Word of God to penetrate the wrong thinking that leads to wrong actions and causes us to miss God’s rest.

Martin Luther was a monk in the Roman Catholic Church. As much as he tried, he could find no rest from guilt. There was no way to know if he had done enough penance, if he had confessed enough, if he had given enough money to know if he was right with God. He was bound up with guilt to the point of despair. Then he read Romans 1:16-17: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. . . . For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’” Four words kept coming back to him: “the righteousness of God.” That is what he craved, a right standing with God. Then it hit him: that right standing comes on the basis of faith, not works. Those four words freed Martin Luther from guilt and allowed him to accept Christ as his Savior. And those four words sparked the Protestant Reformation. That is the power of the Word of God.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Truth That Transforms” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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