Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hebrews 4:12-13 Exposed!

Today we come to a very familiar passage of scripture that is often quoted. However, I had never truly considered the context until now.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

I have always thought these verses pointed to the supernatural work done in our hearts when we read God’s Word, because it shows us our thoughts and motives and shows us where we need to change. In Isaiah God makes an extraordinary promise about His Word:

It is the same with my word.

    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

It will accomplish all I want it to,

    and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:11)

God’s Word always does what He sends it out to do. There is something amazing about how using His Word or reading His Word does a work in the hearts of the hearers. It changes us from the inside out as we read it. And that is true! However, in the context of Hebrews 4, I’m thinking that is not specifically what today’s verses are saying.

These verses follow the story of the Israelites who failed to enter into God’s rest because they did not believe Him. How is this tied to the power of God’s living Word that has the ability to expose our innermost thoughts and desires? How is it related to entering into God’s rest?

The scriptures which tell us the story of the Israelites cuts our hearts like a sword because it shows us how like them we are. We cannot enter into God’s rest anymore than they could if we continue to trust in anything other than God to save us - if we fail to see that entering the Promised Land has NOTHING to do with us and what we can do, but EVERYTHING to do with what He has already done.

For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. (Hebrews 4:10)

True believers will rest from their own labors, because it is not our work but our belief in God’s work that brings us peace.

But today’s verses from Hebrews also show us that God’s Word is what judges our hearts. It is the measure by which we will be judged and proves that God’s judgments will be righteous, because His Word exposes what is in our hearts: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (vs.13)

The warning to the Hebrew believers, and to us, is don’t turn back to the Law to save you - it is what will judge you. Believe God for salvation. It is in His Son, Jesus.


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