2003-09-29 - Tropologies on the Word of God
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
It might be uncomfortable to think of God's Word as a sword. I don't know about you but I would generally try to avoid involvement with a sword. This is true especially when I am the one who the sword is effecting. However, it is different with the Word of God. It is to our advantage to have interaction with this sword. We need it. The Word of God does many things for us. It helps us understand how to subdue sin. It helps us know how to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. It also shows and teaches us about salvation in Christ and His atonement for our sin. There are many things we learn from the sword of the Spirit, but no one sums it up better than the 18th century minister John Brown of Haddington. He says the following concerning God's Word:
"It was the Spirit, who framed and endited it; and, by applying it to our soul, he wounds our conscience, slays our lust, pierces and subdues our heart. How excellent its metal and form, for the spiritual warfare! By managing it aright, we through the Spirit, convince or silence the erroneous, defend our soul, overcome our spiritual enemies, subdue the slavish fear of death, mortify our lusts, glorify God, and promote ourselves to everlasting honour."
I wanted to present the quote faithfully and thus, we have to make a couple of comments here, if nothing else for clarification. The book I am quoting from was published in 1768 so spelling was not as standard as it is today. The word "endited" above should be read as "indicted." I have to admit that while I like the quote, I do not understand this first part of it. I do understand how the Spirit frames God's Word, but I don't understand how the Spirit indicts God's Word. To indict is to accuse or to charge someone or something. I don't understand how God's Word can be indicted. I think we have to read this part of the quote as saying that God's Word indicts us, our sinfulness, and ultimately our conscience. The rest of the quote, however, is really very well worded and insightful. We cannot argue with the importance of God's Word in our lives and the Spirits application of it to our lives if we believe what the rest of what the quote says.
There is another verse that might give us some encouragement on this topic. While I don't think it really relates to God's Word, but rather probably applies to the coming Messiah, I do think we can gain something from taking this as applicable to God's Word. Psalm 45:3 says, "Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, in Thy splendor and Thy majesty!" While this might apply to the coming Messiah, we also ought to gird our sword on our thigh. In other words, we ought to keep our sword, the Word of God, close to us as if it were girded on our thigh.
As an aside note, while I am quoting, Psalm 45:3 from the English Bible, it might surprise you to know that this verse is Psalm 45:4 in the Hebrew Bible. Where did the other verse go? In the Hebrew Bible the introduction to the Psalm is considered verse 1, while in the English Bible it is not considered a verse. I just thought I would toss that in for an FYI.
In summary the tropology that calls the Word of God our Sword in Scripture is very helpful to us. We need to view it this way and we need this for all the reasons mentioned in the quote given by Brown above. We ought to be growing in our understanding of it. We ought to be growing in our ability to apply it to our lives. To fail to do this is to go into battle with the enemy unprepared. Let us make sure we are keeping our swords sharp and let each of us learn how to more and more effectively learn how to use it.
Soli Deo Gloria,