March 10, 2015

Warning: Sharp Edges!

Hebrews 4:12-13

The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow . . .

—  Hebrews 4:12

Warning notices seem to be every­where. At the bottom of the TV screen we're warned not to drive our car like the one being advertised—as if we could or would. As I read a warning not to use a toy tool to do real work, our son, a lawyer, mutters, "Lawyers!"

But there is a serious warning not found on the packaging of the Bible. Deep inside Scripture we read, "Sharper than any double-edged sword." We might rephrase this to say, "Warning: Sharp Edges!"

Jesus grabbed my "college-student" heart by surprise at a youth meeting and in a moment gave me faith in him. I'd felt no need to meet him and didn't expect to. But the focus of my life suddenly shifted from myself to the Savior and King (Colossians 3:1-3). Life changed. New friends got me into Scripture, where I learned the joy of loving God above all and others as myself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Eventually I read the warning in the book of Hebrews. God's Word cuts deeply. Reading, reflecting, studying, and meditating on Scripture exposes sin, especially to the sinner. Scripture can cut like a surgeon with a scalpel or like a warrior with a two-edged sword. The Spirit seeks to cut out sin and recreate God's image in the hearts of believers.

Will we yield to the Great Physi­­cian's scalpel and accept our Savior's victory over sin?

Thank you, God, for the gift of Scripture. Give us the courage to study your Word. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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