Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: John 1: 1-5, 14 (MsgB)
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word.
The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.
Everything was created through Him; nothing—not one thing!—came into being without Him.
What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
We now finally reach the sixth and final piece of armor Paul talks about in his letter of encouragement to his friends in Ephesus (Ephesians 6: 10-18):
1) The Belt of Truth.
2) The Breastplate of Righteousness.
3) The Shoes of Peace.
4) The Shield of Faith.
5) The Helmet of Salvation.
6) The Sword of God’s Word.
(Note that some Bible translators use the phrase, The Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word.)
Sadly, too many Christians take this analogy of God’s Word being a mighty sword, and they memorize a few select verses, and then set out into their world, hacking away at just about every person they meet! Before long, they wonder why no one seems to be coming along with them on their mission for Christ into this darkened world. But the truth is that this warrior Christian, with his mighty sword in hand, has pretty much bloodied up the place, alienating himself from both friend and foe as he whacked and hacked at those who might look at life and faith just a bit differently than he does!
So let’s do this, my friends.
Rather than viewing the Bible as a weapon of war, let’s step back a moment and get the larger picture of what the New Testament writers actually believed about God’s Word.
To begin with, the Greek New Testament term for “word” was logos. And when John began his Gospel (see today’s passage), he chose this Greek word because of its significance in relationship to all God had been “speaking” up until the time of Jesus (God’s living logos). In other words, to John, the logos of God is much larger in capacity than just the written word (or what we would now call the Bible). As a matter of fact, when John wrote his Gospel, there was no such thing as the New Testament! It was only after several hundred years of God’s expanding Kingdom ministry that Christians first assembled what we now call God’s Word (the 66 books that make up our Christian Bible).
So when Paul talks about picking up The Sword of God’s Word, he wasn’t referring to or referencing the same object (the Bible) that you and I now associate with that phrase.
You see, The Sword of God’s Word (or the sword of God’s living logos) really refers to the words and works of Revealed Truth (Holy Spirit-breathed revelation) that come to us exclusively through the hands of God’s living logos, Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, Jesus, and all that He says and does, is The Sword of God’s Word, not just the written book we now call the Bible.
Now please. Don’t assume that I’ve just de-valuated the Bible. It is, without any doubt, the Word of God, a revelatory book like none other on planet earth! But…it is not God’s Word in its’ entirety. Actually, only Jesus, the living logos of God, can make claim to that title. It’s only in and through Him, and the corresponding work of the Holy Spirit, that the Bible makes sense to the human existence. That’s why, for example, people can read, quote, and even memorize the Bible, but without the revelatory unction that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus, their lives can go on relatively unchanged or unaffected by the power of God’s Spirit-driven logos.
So when Paul concludes his list of six pieces of armor, please understand that he is not envisioning a devout Christian picking up a Bible and going around the world thumping people on the head with it! The Sword of God’s Word is the in-breaking power and presence of God’s living logos, the revelatory “God-word” that speaks Holy Spirit Truth in all situations, embraces God’s will in all matters, and submits fully to the Lordship of Jesus in all things.
More on that next time.
My prayer: Jesus, as God’s living logos, I submit to the fullness of who You are. As God’s Word instructs me, I pick up The Sword of God’s Word (You) and hold You close to my heart. May You be God’s Revealed Truth for me, forever and ever. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How do I need to re-define my complete understanding of God’s Word? Am I limiting my view of God’s Revealed Truth to the pages of the Bible, or am I open to exploring, through Christ, God’s living logos, and the work of the Spirit, a broader Truth that can not be completely contained in only one place and at one time?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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