Monday, October 18, 2010

"Your Double-Edged Sword" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 198
“Your Double-Edged Sword”

By Rev. Greg Smith

In Uncommon Decency (pp. 20-21), Richard J. Mouw writes:

At a recent gathering of seminary professors, one teacher reported that at his school the most damaging charge one student can lodge against another is that the person is being "judgmental." He found this pattern very upsetting. "You can't get a good argument going in class anymore," he said. "As soon as somebody takes a stand on any important issue, someone else says that the person is being judgmental. And that's it. End of discussion. Everyone is intimidated!" Many of the other professors nodded knowingly. There seemed to be a consensus that the fear of being judgmental has taken on epidemic proportions.

If this is true in seminaries, then certainly it is true in the rest of the world. We live in a world of relativism, where everybody talks about “my truth” and “your truth,” but not “the Truth.” Even many of our religious leaders believe that truth is a relative thing. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

There is a measuring-stick for ultimate Truth, and that’s the Word of God. We mean two different things when we use that phrase. First, we mean the Bible, which is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).”

Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” While your Bible is inspired by God, its pages and binding aren’t living. This can only be referring to our second meaning: John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is The Word of God, who became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word (Jesus), and His word (The Bible) are the sword that judges the world.

Though the world doesn’t like the idea, it will be judged by the Word of God. Some secretly smug Christians like to hear fire-and-brimstone sermons because they like the idea that God will judge their neighbors. God’s Word judging the world is one side of the double-edged sword. Yet the other edge is when God’s Word judges you. “It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12b-13).

The sword of God’s Word will judge the world. It is our standard for ultimate Truth, by which we may discern between right and wrong, verity from error. Yet God’s Word is also a surgeon’s scalpel that cuts the tumors of sin and ignorance from our lives. God’s sword may hurt when it cuts, but it always brings healing. God applies the same standards of justice and judgment to our lives that He uses for the rest of the world. May we lay ourselves bare before the hands of the Great Physician, so he can do heart surgery on our souls. May we open ourselves to the healing that only He can bring.

1 comment:

Brian Orahood said...

When reading God's Word or listening to a sermon, it is much easier to apply the truth to my friend, relative, associate, or neighbor than it is to apply it to myself. After all, a speck in my friend's eye bothers me a whole lot more than a log in my own.

Thanks for challenging commentaries! Keep it up.