The Word at Work in the Children of God, part 1
The Word of God is Alive
We know God is at work in the world by His Word and Spirit. But is the Word at work in you? Just how hungry am I for the Word of God? How deeply do I feel my daily need for the Word of God? Paul wrote:
"And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Did you see it? The word of God is at work in believers.
He also wrote:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:16)
All genuine devotion springs from an inward devotion to God's Word. If the word of Christ, the gospel, does not dwell in us richly, we cannot bear Spiritual fruit unto God. God's Word cultivates inward godliness that leads to outward devotion.
And one more:
"And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)
The Word of the Gospel
Now, "the word of God" in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 is the message of God's free salvation in Christ, which must be received through faith by the grace and Spirit of God. In the Bible, the gospel is not a lifeless message outside of us, one that we simply agree with yet remain the same people we always were. Instead the gospel is a living and life-giving message that takes residence within us.
We do a whole lot more than simply affirm that the message is true! The gospel changes us. It makes us new. It transforms us from slaves to sin and unbelief to children of God who believe. We no longer blindly wallow in sin but turn from it by the living power of the Word, the sword of God's Spirit doing battle in our hearts (Ephesians 6:11; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 1:16-17; 10:16-17; cf. Revelation 19:15).
Dearest brothers and sisters, how exactly is the Word at work "in you?"
What exactly is God's Word doing in your heart and mind?
How are you leaning into that experience through faith in Christ?
Talking about missionaries on the other side of the world is one thing. Participating in local outreaches and evangelism is another. These are wonderful works of God that He makes fruitful by His Word and Spirit. But what about God's wonderful work in my soul? In your soul? What about the work of the Word and Spirit in your heart, mind, words, and life?
Consider the power of God's Word for both salvation and ongoing sanctification.
- God's Word gave us new life (1 Peter 1:23).
- God's Word is growing in our hearts and bearing the fruit of godliness (Matthew 13:23).
- The Word implanted within us turns us away from wickedness with a humble spirit (James 1:21).
- Only the Word of the gospel bears fruit in the world, churches, and Christians (Colossians 1:5-6).
Making it Personal
If Christ came down and asked you, "What is my Word doing in your heart this week?", what would you say?
The more you are in tune with how God intends to use His Word in your heart, the more you will hunger and thirst for the Word and yearn and strive after it. Then also, the more you hunger and thirst for the Word and yearn and strive after it, the more you will be in tune with how God intends to use His Word in your heart. It all begins with sensing our need for the work of God's Word in your life.
As you walk with the Lord and as the Lord conforms you to the likeness of Christ, you should be awake and aware of the specifics of the Word at work in your life. Do not worry so much about the details and logistics of outward observance and appearances. Rather, be locked into the Spirit's sanctifying, strengthening, and sustaining grace in your life.
We need God's grace to sustain our faith, strengthen our faith, deepen our faith, to bring holiness to life, to put wickedness to death, to give victory over temptation, doubt, anger, and so forth.
How does this grace come to us?
It comes to us by God's Word and Spirit.
The next installment will look at the details of exactly HOW God administers His Word to our hearts and minds. I
n other words, we will discuss the most elementary aspects of HOW God uses His Word and Spirit to administer sanctifying grace to us, a grace that we should always sense our need for, always long for, always pray for, and always seek the Lord for by faith in the risen Lord through His Word and Spirit.