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The meaning and work of the “Word of God”

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As believers, we often hear the phrase or use the term “the word of God”. What exactly does it mean? Let us look at the scriptures to understand it. In its simplest form, this phrase is referred to the Bible, all the books from Genesis to Revelation. These words are God speaking to us through these sacred passages. The Bible was written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is free from all error, and is infallible. 

The word of God can mean:

  1. the written word as in the Bible (OT and NT), 
  2. the revealed Word, as in the person of Jesus Christ, and 
  3. the proclaimed word, as preached and proclaimed. 

Even though the word of God is seen in the divine scriptures as the “written word“, it points to a much greater revelation of the Word. God’s Word is eternal Wisdom, being fully divine, existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, in Jesus Christ. Through the power of this Word, God created all things (Genesis 1), and through whom God made salvation possible for the world. John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Then, in verse 14, we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word of God has been “revealed” through different means in both the Old and New Testaments. In the form of Jesus Christ, the Word is fully present in human form (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Word. The Old Testament prefigures Christ through symbols and representations, while the New Testament shows Him directly.

Now, in the church, the Word of God is “proclaimed.” The church is now the bearer of God’s Word through scripture, preaching, and the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. The word of God is flawless and is proven true, shielding all those who take refuge in Him (Psalm 18:30). We are to be careful not to add to it or to take away from it but to keep His word as it is given to us (Deuteronomy 4:2).

Isaiah 40:6-8 says, “A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” The point here is that people cannot be relied upon, which is temporary. It is here one moment and gone the next, just like grass and flowers. Whereas the “word of our God” will stand forever. There is life in His word, and it is eternal. It is a beautiful representation of the gospel message, showing us that we who were spiritually empty, poor, weak, naked, and fragile as grass or flowers can totally rely on God’s word. We should not trust anything other than His word since everything else is temporary, fleeting, and will fail. 

Psalm 119:89 says. “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Nothing here on earth is constant, but we must fix our trust in God’s word. God’s word never returns empty, but it always accomplishes whatever God desires and fulfils the purposes He wants (Isaiah 55:10-11). Likewise, Jesus tells us in Luke 21:33 that heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never pass away. 

1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” 

You see, we were born into this world through perishable seed, and so we too will one day perish. Now, a believer has been born again into a new spiritual birth. By means of the word of God, we receive the incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit, and through whom, we are born again (John 3:3-8). Without hearing the word of God, how can one believe in the good news they have not heard? This only happens through preaching God’s word (Romans 10:14).

This word is incorruptible and does not perish. It carries with itself the very life that ensures those who God calls will live and abide forever in contrast to all that is in the world and in the flesh. No longer dead works as of the flesh, but the new life in the Spirit bearing incorruptible fruits. James 1:18 says, “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

The word of God sanctifies. Once we are made alive and given new birth by the Spirit through the word, this same word is also an agent of sanctification in our life. In other words, it renews us daily to become more like Christ. This scripture that God has breathed out is helpful in our new lives by teaching us about God and His ways, pointing out our errors, correcting people, and giving us instruction for right living (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is a lamp and light for our paths, rebuking and disciplining us and leading us along the way of life. Amen!

This word of God not only brings eternal life, but it is also a sword. Heb 4:11-13 says, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Here we see the word of God in the image of a sword. We again see the same emphasised in Ephesians 6:17, where we are commanded to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Through the written word, spoken word, and Christ the Word Himself, holds a judicial power as characterised by the sword. It is a double-edged sword in that one edge can be used to convict someone of their sins and lead them to salvation. The other will condemn and destroy those who reject the Word (Revelation 9:15). The same word that saves people through Christ (Hebrews 4:2) will also ultimately destroy the disobedient (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) and those who reject his life-giving word.

In conclusion, I urge you to hold fast to the word of God and, like newborn babies, crave and desire this pure milk of God so that by it, you may grow up as a believer. We must rely on God’s word, His Holy Spirit, and God’s grace and power to walk in this new way of life, in the new birth, for the glory of God. The word of God is powerful, so read it, meditate on it, and may it transform your life into the image of Christ. Amen!

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