Thursday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 4:11-13

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.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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