In Hebrews 4:12, it says this: "For 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; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
When we teach this or seek to interpret it, we spend the majority of the time talking about how God's Word cuts down to the very motives of our hearts. But this word "double-edge" is very important.
A sword that is double-edge means that it cuts both ways. Some swords are dull on the side that faces you but sharp on the side that faces your opponent. But a double edged sword is a phrase used to say that there are two sides to this cutting: one cuts away the fleshly soulish side and one cuts open the spirit side. It divides the soul from the spirit.
By way of example, Psalm 119:105 says, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." This Scripture from the Word of God is a two-edged sword in that it is cutting away me forging my own path, and cutting into the need for me to allow the Word alone to direct my path. This is a sword that cuts and separates my flesh from the Spirit.
The gospel is a two-edged sword that few have remembered today, and few are teaching. The gospel is not only Jesus paying the penalty for our sin and rising again so we can be reunited with Father God, but it is also forsaking our flesh, forsaking the world, and following Jesus...following His Word, His ways, His heart.
Jesus said it like this, "If any man comes after Me let him deny his selfish desires, crucify his flesh, and follow Me."
I John 2:15-17 says this, "Do not love the world or anything in the world.If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
Matthew 6:24 says you cannot love/serve two masters, referring to God or money. The principle is you cannot have divided loyalties.
To Follow Christ means to Forsake the World.
And yet what I have seen in the Church today is people who claim Christ, but are still living and loyal to the things of the world. They still lust for more, lust for fame, lust for fortune, filled with pride, and though they may be giving, they make sure that they document it with pictures to display it on social media for the world to see.
And yet Jesus said that what you do for Him, you are to do it in secret (Mattew 6). The spiritual discipline of secrecy. The way people were supposed to find out about Jesus was not through the perfect Instagram photos of what a church is doing, but people testifying to the lost about what they saw and what they experienced. Church, we are missing it.
You Cannot Have Divided Loyalties
Not too long ago I witnessed a baptism service at a church in Orlando to which I have such admiration. The pastor who was baptizing, asked a 13 year old girl what it was like without Jesus. Then, he asked her what it was like with Jesus. Her response was beautiful, genuine, and simple, yet so profound and moving. Then he asked her if she was willing to forsake the world (its thinking, acting) and follow Jesus. The beautiful girl in tears said, "yes". Are we asking this as part of the gospel? As part of the baptism expereince?
Are your loyalties divided? Do you even know that when you accepted Christ as Savior and Lord that you were also declaring your separation from the world? Or did someone forget to tell you that part?
Mark 8:36 says, "For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"
It's time that Christians stop calling themselves Christians while acting and living like the world. We were called, invited into relationship with Jesus, to be different. To be distinguished from the world.
Jesus said, "...you do not belong to this world, but I have chosen you out of the world."
Oh Father, help us come out of the world and be different for Your glory. Amen
You are loved,