Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Bible is the Christian's most powerful weapon in the battle against Satan, the flesh, and the world. It always cuts when it is read or proclaimed. It cuts both those who read it and those who hear it. It always accomplishes what God intends for it.
Why does it cut? Because it gets right down into our hearts. It is like a mirror thrust into our face revealing to us what we don’t like to see, what we would prefer not having to see: our sin, our rebellion, our failures, and our shame. It cuts us so that it also might by the power of the Holy Spirit heal us.
On Friday, my daughter Jasmine and I went to the walking bridge to do some preaching and handing out tracts. I was preaching from the book of Titus about how the truth of the gospel is in accordance with godliness. To drive that point home, I read Titus 2. As I read Titus 2, a woman who looked old enough to be a grandmother walked by. She didn't seem to be paying attention to what I was saying but when I read the part that says older women are to teach the young women to love their husbands and their children and be workers at home, her face became distorted as if in physical pain. She looked like Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings movie becoming demonic at the thought of losing the ring. She turned around to give me evil scowl while she muttered something in disgust.
On the way home, Jasmine and I were talking about what had happened. I asked my six year old daughter why she thought they got angry. She said it was because they hate God. Bingo! They hate God and they love their sin. The word of God hits that head on. It confronts the idols we make and exposes our sin. It always demands something from us and what it demands of us is too painful for those who do not have the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the pain that the cutting of scripture causes? For one, there is the pain of change. If I accept the word of God to be true, then the things I am doing or that I believe that differ with it must be changed. We hate change because we love our sin. To give up what we love to follow God is too painful. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible. As if the pain of change was not difficult enough, the pain of shame is added on. If the things we believe or do need to be changed, that means the things that we were believing and doing were not right. This means admitting that we are wrong and this is shameful to us. No one ever wants to be wrong.
In addition to admitting that we are wrong, is the pain of admitting that the wrong things we believed and did have caused us problems and will have consequences. When we are confronted with the truth, we realize that the lies we have believed and lived have done us and those we love harm. These things place our futures at jeopardy. We stand condemned. We are at fault and no else is. This pain of regret is too much to bare, therefore rather than admit these things, it is much easier to hate the commands of God and continue in your rebellion. The pain of change, shame, and regret is too much without the healing hand of God.
I told Jasmine it is like when she gets a splinter in her finger. It is painful. She said, "yeah, I don't like that." I then asked her if she liked it when Daddy got a tweezers or a needle to get it out. She said she hated that. That is true. She is quite stubborn when she has gotten a splinter. She fights tooth and nail to stop you from helping her get it out because using a needle or tweezers means getting into her wound and that hurts. It is painful. But it is necessary to get the splinter out or she gets an infection in her finger and it hurts even more. If you don't take care of it then, the infection could get bad enough that she could lose her finger. Without treatment at that point, it could even become life threatening. Our sin is like the splinter, and God's word is the needle that exposes the wound. It is painful. The gospel is the tweezers that removes the splinter. Too many would rather let the splinter fester into an infection that is life threatening.
The Christian, however, has had his heart changed. He now sees the beauty in God’s commands because of his faith in Christ. Therefore, the Christian takes the pain of change, the pain of the shame, and the pain of regret head on and carries his cross through faith, trusting that God will enable the change, take the shame, and heal the regret. The Christian by the grace of God is able to admit their sin and grow to love the law of God which once accused them. The command that was the power of death becomes as King David said in Psalm 19 the command that restores the soul.
Therefore, brothers and sisters don't ever give up your sword.