The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13). Isaiah makes clear, “…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
God’s Word does stuff. We ought not be surprised by that. Why else would He have given it? When He came as the Word He did things, working our salvation. When He comes as the Word He does the same, delivering all that He has accomplished for us and then accomplishing yet more good through us for our neighbor.
Our God is a revealed God. He has revealed Himself in Christ and in the Scriptures. And as the revealing God He also reveals things about us. He exposes who we are apart from Him through the law, as well as our sins when we still yet transgress as sinner-saints. Yet He also reveals that we are His forgiven children, absolving us through that same Word, and this forgiveness is no idle thing, but spills over into our relationships with one another, if imperfectly on this side of the casket.
When we go to God’s Word we ought to remember that we’re doing a dangerous thing. That Word goes to work on us. It’s not a textbook, a collection of quotations, a springboard for our heart’s desires, or a tool for our political, ideological, economic, or even religious ends. The Word is the Word—God Himself is present. It’s living and active, for us and for our salvation, and for our neighbor through us.
God has given us much. He has given us Himself. And it’s only in Him, and through our God-given recognition of this fact through His gift of faith, which comes through the Word, that we can stand it’s light as those who have been given much, for those who have been given God Himself for us and our salvation, as those who live by the absolution. Anything we think we have beyond, apart from, or aside from Him is nothing at all and will be exposed as such. But anything we know we have in Him, from Him, by and through Him, that is gift, to be enjoyed as such and used with joy for others. In that faith, in Him, the bushel is removed and Christ Himself shines, for us and for the world.
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