Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call.
Here’s this week’s question:
“Dear Dave and Tom: Would you please give me your understanding of Hebrews:4:12? Thank you.”
Tom: Hebrews:4:12 - what verse could we say, “Well, that’s not a great verse”? They’re all great, but there are just some, Dave, that just speak to our hearts, give us understanding about the Lord, about His Word, and just how wonderful it is.
Let me read Hebrews:4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
And, Dave, I just want to read v. 13, as well: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
What’s this telling us about understanding ourselves? “Dave, I just want to know myself. If I could find myself, and know myself…”
Dave: We are dissected by the Word of God, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Tom: What does “quick” mean? “God is quick…”
Dave: Well, that’s “living.” That’s the Old English translation. It’s living and powerful. This is the living Word of God, and it analyzes us, it shows our sin, it shows our rebellion. For example, Jeremiah writes, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? I the Lord search the heart.” This is God speaking, of course, and this is why in Psalm 139 David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts; see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It’s not enough to know how bad we are, but we have to have God’s cure, and this is what the Bible gives to us.
So, Tom, here again we seem to have an offer from Scripture that says, “You don’t need to get into this small group. You don’t need to get into this recovery process.” God’s Word is sufficient. It always was, and when I think of the triumphant lives of the martyrs…Tom, I’ve read the lives of many of these martyrs, read their last words - we can still get them; read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs; read about these people who loved the Lord. I’m thinking of an early Mennonite in Holland, and his name escapes me at the moment - he escaped from prison. He was being held in prison to be burned at the stake. He escaped. He ran across a frozen river, jumping from one ice flow to the other, and he got to the other side safely. But the jailer who was pursuing him fell in, and this man went back, rescued the jailer at the risk of his own life, and of course the others were following behind, then captured him, and they took him and burned him at the stake. Now, here was a man who gave his life to rescue another man.
When I think of the triumph of these people and the lives they lived and the deaths they died, all without any recovery program, all without any small groups in which they say to go over their sins, one with another…Tom, I feel sorry for those who are bound by this sort of thing. Not only in AA are you told you dare not leave AA or you’ll go back to where you were, but the Christian recovery groups also tell you, “You’ve got to keep in this small group. You’ve got to keep the program.” It can be very time-consuming, the meetings, and so forth. But, Tom, it’s in the Word of God, and millions have proved that Christ living in us is sufficient if we trust Him and we obey Him.
And you know, Tom, I don’t know of any motivation that is more powerful than love, and Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” I think the problem is a lack of love for the Lord, but you don’t love the Lord if you don’t really know Him. But if you really know the Lord, you can’t help but love Him, and love will triumph over everything. There is no addiction that can stand in the way of love.
Tom: Mm-hmm. You bring up a really interesting point, too. I think our listeners, if they’re not aware, they need to know: when you look at all the therapies out there, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds that are supposedly to solve your problem, and there are people doing research to find out how efficacious - how this works, and does it work, and is it indeed valuable, and they will tell you that the one common denominator between all these therapies is motivation! Motivation!
Dave: If you don’t have the motivation, it doesn’t matter what the therapy is.
Tom: But what you just said: for 2,000 years we have had God’s Word and the motivation of love for all that He has done for us to transform our lives. Now, in the late 1920s, Bill Wilson comes along, has these experiences and so on, and gives the world 12 Steps. What was wrong with the motivation of truth and love prior to him? And now we’ve got a false teaching, a false idea, false concepts that the church has opted to go with to Christianize. It’s just unbelievable.
Dave: Tom, in the process of Christianizing these things, you are saying that the Bible is not sufficient; you’re turning from the Bible.
I love that little chorus that says:
“After all He’s done for me,
After all He’s done for me,
How can I do less than give Him my best
And live for Him completely
After all He’s done for me?”
Tom, I think that’s about all you need.
Tom: Without a doubt. It’s the Word. “How shall a young man cleanse his way?” By going to the Word of God.
Dave: “Taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word.” Christ promised that He would live His life in us, and I don’t believe that Jesus Christ living in me needs any therapies or any recovery programs.
Tom: What it does, Dave, is it dilutes, it pollutes…when you try to bring in the ways of man and try to mix it with God’s way, you’ve got pollution at best. “There’s a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”