CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
The Cut of His Two-Edged Sword
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
Both a switchblade and a scalpel are weapons that pierce, cause pain and bleeding, and can leave a scar. But while one is more a weapon of wrath, administered violently and with full force to injure or kill, the other is a tool for healing, administered with just enough power to correct and restore.
Of course, a lot depends on who's doing the cutting, and why. A scalpel can be dangerous in the wrong person's hand. And in the hand of the right person, a switch-blade used in, say, the crudest of medical emergency situations, can be a life saver.
But what if in either case it is God doing the cutting? What if God wields a weapon of destructive wrath in one hand and a tool of loving correction in the other?
Contradiction? Not at all, if you understand the power and purpose of the Word of God.
God's Word (the Bible) is referred to as the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). In fact, according Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. God wields His Word like a dual-purpose sword to cut off His enemies on the one hand, and on the other to cut out the crap that plagues His imperfect children. One edge He uses like a switchblade and the other like a scalpel, depending on what kind of cutting He decides He must do.
An example of God's sword rendering violent wrath on His enemies is at Deuteronomy 32:41 (NASB): If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me. (See also Judges 7:18; Isaiah 34:5-8 and 66:16; Jeremiah 12:12; Ezekiel 32:10; and Zephaniah 2:12.) Most dramatic of all is John's description of the "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" in the Book of Revelation (1:16 cf. 19:11-16). Here, the Word of God is a two-edged sword coming out of Christ's mouth to destroy the evil nations of the world — violently, swiftly and sure.
On the other hand, God uses the "scalpel edge" of His sword to correct the children of His Kingdom, as we see in 1 Chronicles 21:12 and Ezekiel 21:4.
Child of God, the Word cuts. It's going to hurt. You may even bleed. But it cuts only where it needs to, and only as deep as it needs to go. That's because it is based on corrective love, not destructive wrath.
Child of God, be encouraged by the full context of Hebrews 4:12. Read the whole chapter. God's sword won't kill you like it will all those souls who ultimately reject Jesus Christ. Let 2 Timothy 3:14-17 reassure you even further that, even though it cuts, the Word of God is still profitable: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (v. 16). You will recover, your spiritual strength will improve and whatever scars remain will remind you of God's loving correction so that you will stay motivated to remain spiritually healthy and fruitful.
Here's an important side point: God's two-edged sword cuts both ways. A preacher's sermons should be cutting himself as well as you, especially if what he's preaching is the true Word of God and not some self-serving scripture-twisting and false piety as described in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. (Please read my personal blog article, "Real Life Face-Off."
No one can escape the two-edged sword of God's Word. Every single one of us — Christian or not, layperson or leader — will be cut. But let it cut you as a scalpel, not wound you like a switchblade.
Unbeliever, let the truth of God's Word cut down the veil over your eyes and cut out the hardness in your heart before it must cut off life from your soul as a rejecter of Christ.
Believer, let God's Word cut out whatever obstructive or even cancerous tumors are sapping you of spiritual strength and growth, so that you can be more and more a properly functioning and fruitful child in the Kingdom of your Loving Heavenly Father.
Image Credit: Adam Caudill; "Latest sharp & pointy"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Jesus-Christ | Sin-Evil
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Published on 10-21-14