Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword
So there is a Sabbath rest for God’s people. But the Preacher goes on, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” It is of interest that the Preacher tells us that entering that rest involves striving. We thought that one was saved by grace through faith—and one is. But being saved by grace does not exclude striving to enter that rest. The Christian must grow in grace, which means he has work to do. Growing does not occur automatically; a Christian must actively cooperate within God’s grace to bear fruit for the Kingdom—and that’s what Christians do—bear fruit, for that is how we are known (Luke 6:44).
And in the work of growing in grace, there is no greater help than the word of God. Now what we read here about God’s word can be seen as fearful or encouraging, depending on the health of one’s spiritual life. But we must remember that the purpose of Scripture is to help us such that we do not come up short of that blessed rest we so crave. And Scripture’s method of helping us is by cutting, yes cutting, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow—which is all to say that there is no scalpel like Scripture; it cuts right through our excuses, our rationalizations, and our equivocations. We can fool ourselves and others but not God’s word. Why is this? Because Scripture “discern[s] the thoughts and intention of the heart” and “all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
And like I said, a believer can fear this of be encouraged by it. If he is fearful, you can bet he is cherishing some sin in his life which he refuses to relinquish. Such a one best recommit himself to God and allow the Surgeon to do his work and cut away the diseased limb. He cannot hide his sin, try as he may. And the longer it goes untreated, the more painful the cutting will be, especially when it comes of God’s timing rather than his own (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). But the growing Christian, the sincere believer cherishes the word over his sin. And even though the surgery may be painful, he trusts the Surgeon and relishes the closer walk that comes from healing.
I remember as a youth my Sunday School teacher, a wise old lady, telling me that the Bible was how God “beat us over the head.” I thought that odd back then; now an old man, I understand what she meant. Let the word of God be the word of God. It will comfort and convict; let it do its work.