Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Paul understood better than most people the value of the grace of God. He considered himself the worst sinner of all (1 Timothy 1:15.) Yet he also understood the need to live a life of holiness to God. It is impossible to read Paul’s letters and not come away with the understanding that a godly lifestyle is vital to our Christian witness. We have seen that to do so without being in the bondage of law we must walk with our spirit in control.
The first key to accomplishing this is that to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. To be “minded” means to have how we think dominated by a particular point of view or mindset. In the natural this can be our culture, experiences, education or many other things. When it comes to how we will live Christianity, the question is whether our thinking will be dominated by the natural or by the spirit. One leads to life the other opens the door for death to infiltrate.
From the Amplified Bible, we learned that to be carnally minded is to have our thinking dominated by sense reason without the influence of the Holy Spirit. This also implies reason without the influence of the truth of the Word of God. Again, to quote the Amplified directly, this produces “death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter.”
To be spiritually minded, according to the Amplified, means to have the mind of the Holy Spirit guiding how we think. This produces “life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].” Paul understood that there was a process in the Word that could change how we are “minded.” It is not possible to simply decide to change it. It has taken a lifetime to develop how we think. When we read the Word or hear preaching it must pass through the filter of how we think. We cannot help that.
There is something that God has placed in our hands which was designed by him to change how we think. That powerful tool is the Word of God. Let us look at todays verse. In it, the writer tells us what the Word of God really is.
First of all, the Word of God is alive. The KJV uses the term quick. It comes from a Greek word that means to be alive or to live. This is not a figurative statement. It is a description of the nature of the Bible. It is not a book of words or philosophies. It is not just the thoughts of men nor is it the mythology of Judaism and Christianity. It is a book infused with the life of God in seed form.
This book, written over a period of thousands of years by many different human authors contains a consistency of style and story that can only be described as supernatural. It remains the most printed book in human history. When other great texts have disappeared or waned in popularity the Bible remains. Although there are other “holy books” the bible has a life and character that none of the others possess. That is because it is alive.
John 1:1 (NKJV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 6:63 (NKJV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
The Word was not just with God in creation, it was God. It still is. The words of Jesus, who was the Word made flesh (John 1:14), are both Spirit and life. We see the words of Jesus echoed perfectly in Paul’s words from Romans 8:6. The spirit gives life while the flesh brings no profit.
Not only is the Word of God alive, it is powerful. It contains the power of almighty God, himself. Nothing can stand against the Word of God. The Word of God as written in the Bible can do whatever God himself can do. Yet in its written form the nature of God’s power is very specific.
Hebrews 12:4 goes on to say that the power in God’s living, written word is the power to separate. He describes it as sharper than any two-edged sword. The key to understanding what this means is to see what the Word of God separates or divides. There are three areas God designed his Word to affect.
First it will separate soul and spirit. One of the difficult things about the Christian life is that all of what comes to us from our spirit must pass through our soul. All that comes from the physical world, including what we read in the bible, must go through our soul before it reaches our spirit. This is the very issue from Romans 8:6. However we are minded will determine what we get from either direction.
The Word of God has the power to discern between those two parts of our being. The more our minds are filled with the Word of God, the more we will begin to distinguish the voice of the spirit from the voice of the soul. The more we allow the Word of God to work, the more how we think will change. We will begin to think more like God and less like our experience, culture or training. Although this does require some effort on our part, it is the Word that really does the work.
It also divides joints and marrow. This is interesting. What do our bones have to do with how we think? Let me submit something to you. The marrow of our bones contains the life. It is where our blood is manufactured, and the bible says that life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11.) The joints have a very different role. They are what gives our bones the ability to move. We might say the joints represent motivation.
The Word of God has the ability to separate the life of what we think from the motivation. Often, we are motivated by the things that determine how we think. The Word of God has the power to cut through all that until we begin to see the life of God underneath the motivation. This will gradually change how we think about most things.
Finally, it divides the thoughts and intents of our hearts. I believe the thoughts of our hearts are the things we think; or the thoughts that are formed in our conscious mind. However, the real power is in the intensions of our heart or how we think. Most of the time we do not recognize the difference. The Bible contains the power of God which can differentiate between the two. The more we allow the Word of God to do that, the more we will change how we think.
As I read this, I can see that the potential for me to change from a carnal mind to a spiritual mind is in the makeup of the Word of God that was written down in the Bible. How do I get that potential from the word into my mind? How do I allow that potential to change my thinking to the degree that my mind becomes a clear channel for my spirit? That is the most important key to walking in the spirit.