But how does God’s personal, living, and powerful word accomplish this? What is the nature of God’s word?
God’s word is creative. Review the following verses and see the implications of each concerning the creative power of God’s word.
3 Then God said,”Let there be light”; and there was light.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
So we see that all things have been created by God’s word, Jesus is God’s word, and at a point in history, God’s word became flesh and came to live among us. The key thing to observe here is that God’s word is creative in nature. When God speaks, stuff happens – things come into existence.
17(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed — God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
I think most believers don’t view God’s word as being creatively powerfully in this way. Many believers hear the term “God’s word” and immediately think of scripture. The Bible certainly is the word of God, but the term “God’s word” refers to more than scripture. But even if we narrowly speak of God’s word in terms of scripture, do we really think of God’s word expressed through scripture as having creative power? I don’t think so. Not usually.
The most common illustration I’ve heard all my life is that the Bible is a manual for life. “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” is the little acronym that serves to make this point. The concept is that we are like manufactured products and God (the manufacturer) has given us a manual. If we will learn the principles contained in the manual and apply them, then our lives will operate according to design. I believe this is how most of us regard God’s word expressed in scripture. The Bible is a repository of principles to live by.
But how much power does a manual have? What ever got created by a manual?
A manual would be the perfect solution if my problem was simply behavioral. If what I needed was mere instruction regarding what to do and what not to do, then a manual would do just fine. But I need more than that. I need a LOT more than that. I need Life. I need power. I need motives I don’t have. I need strength I don’t have. I need peace I don’t have. I need a lot of things I don’t have. A manual can’t give me what I don’t have; it can only tell me what to do with what I do have.
Even the things I do have positionally in Christ I need to enter into experientially, relationally. A manual cannot give me relational experience.
Thank God he has given us more than a manual. His word expressed through scripture is so much more than a manual. The very breath of God is on it and in it. Through scripture (the written word) I can come to Jesus (the living word). As I hear the living word speak by the Spirit through scripture and in scriptural ways (see my Hearing God series) things change within me. Stuff I didn’t have before appears. My motives get transformed. My identity gets formed. God’s word creates. If I’m a new creation (2Cor 5:17), then this is exactly what I should expect God’s word to do. It’s what I need. It’s what God does in me through his word.