The journey of the double-edged sword

Reflections on a home-group meeting...

Huw Williams | 13:17, 29 September, 2012 | Turin, Italy

In our Bible Study recently we were contemplating Hebrews 4:12-6. I was struck again at how the writer sees the word of God as functioning. In verse 12 (the famous "sharper than any double-edged sword" verse that I learned in Sunday School), he is clear that the word of God exposes our sin and our need of a saviour, the great high priest who is shortly to become the focus of the passage. As much as we want to rush on to verse 14, I'm glad we let ourselves stay in the uncomfortable matter of our exposure of verses 12 and 13 for a little longer.

... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

Because we noticed that the sin the word of God exposes is what, exactly? All those wrong things we do, the bad behaviour, right? Well not exactly. On it's journey to the root of the problem of our sin, the double-edged sword may well touch upon our outward behaviour, but it has further to go. Look at the verse again:-

"For the word of God is alive 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."

Its final destination is judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Our sin is not essentially a behaviour problem - that is merely the symptom - our sin is a heart problem, and specifically the failure to love God and love our neighbour with all of it. 

This is far more profound diagnosis, which cuts right through our decency, our politeness, our civility - our education even - all those behavioural aspects about us which we might like to consider morally good somehow. The thoughts and attitudes of our hearts! - that is something to drive us to the great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who wants to meet us in verse 14, isn't it?

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