In everyday interaction and activities, many put much premium on honesty. They desire that others show themselves to be reliable. But oftentimes, the one demanding honesty in others, are not eager to offer sincerity of purpose to those they interact with. This is a double standard which many seem not to give much thought to.
The unfortunate thing is that because many seem to get away with their dishonesty amongst humans, they extend it to God. Even, believers in Christ whom one would expect to know better are frequently fraudulent in their relationship with God. This should not be so.
The commandments of God demonstrate His wisdom and His love for us. It is in our best interest and for our good to obey them. And so, like many other things God expects or demands of us, to be honest with God is for our own good.
And this piece is offered prayerfully as a timely reminder, and exhortation to believers in Christ to from now, “Be honest with God for your own good.”
There is no better place to get encouragement to be sincere in our relationship with the LORD other than the word of God, the Holy Bible. And to the Holy Bible we turn now.
We are told concerning God and His word in no uncertain terms. Numerous passages of Scripture give testimony of God and His word. Hear what one of such passages of the Holy Scripture says,
“12For 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. 13Neither 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.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
In Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, we are first informed of the failure of Israel and the reason for their failure (Heb. 3:7-4:13). In the concluding part of the section (Heb. 4:12-13), New Testament believers are now warned to avoid the error of the Israelites.
Let us first have a look at the passage. In both these verses, the language is couched in a manner that man can understand. There is metaphor, and even human parts are ascribed to God though God is a Spirit. For we are specifically informed that, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).
“12For 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.
For: Connects this verse and the next with verse 11, and thus shows the reason why the believers should seek to enter God’s rest. This verse tells us much about the word of God that we do well to note and seriously take to heart for our own good. This is especially important for those who claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word of God: As we are told, in times past God spoke at varied times and in divers manners to the fathers by the prophets. But in these last days has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir over all things (Heb. 1:1). That Son is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word of God being referred to here is not Christ in person but pronouncements from God. We have a God who though invisible, speaks. This is what is referred to when we are told that, “And God said” (Gen 1:3, 6). We have the spoken word of God in written form now in the Holy Bible. We are informed,
“To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, It is because there is no light in them.” (Isa 8:20).
Further, the Lord said,
- “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).
- “48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50).
Hence, when Christ speaks, God speaks.
Some inherent characteristics of the word of God.
The inherent characteristics are embedded in or part-and-parcel of the word. The word of God cannot help but be these because of who God is.
We are told, the word of God is Quick, that is, the word of God is living. Our God is the living God. His word has living power as the word of God. Hence God is spoken of as one who smites with, “the rod of his mouth….and “the breath of his lips” (Isa 11:4).
and powerful that is, energetic. The word of God is active and energetically efficacious. It is always effective in whatever it does. God’s word never returns to Him void (Is 55:11).
and sharper than any two-edged sword:
The sword was a powerful weapon of war then, and often had two edges. The sword was sharpened, oiled and polished to the point that its owner saw his own reflection on the blade as if looking into a mirror. Having a two-edged sword was of a great advantage in war.
The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It can harden (like it did Pharaoh of the Exodus) or cause to believe as it does the believer. But this whole section (Heb. 3:7-4:13), speaks of the judgement of the unbelieving Israelites, and warns New Testament believers to beware of unbelief so as not to face similar consequences as their predecessors.
Piercing: That is, coming through, breaking whatever barrier is on its way.
even to the dividing asunder of: Division so incisive that it results in complete separation.
soul and spirit:
The soul is the base or earthly part of man. And it is the seat of fleshly or animal-like desires. It is part responsible for the character traits of the natural man.
As we are told,
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor 2:14).
Further, we are told,
“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19).
The spirit is the higher or heavenly part of man. It is the part that can relate to the Spirit of God. It is the part that when connected to and is receptive of the things of the Spirit ally man to heavenly beings and things.
The soul and spirit of man are so closely united that ordinarily man cannot separate or differentiate them. But the word of God is able to differentiate and separate them.
and of the joints and marrow: It reaches both the joints and so able to divide them, and the marrow. Christ knew and continues to know what is in man (John 2:25). Hence, the word of Christ is able to reach the deepest and most secret and hidden parts of man including his feelings and thoughts, so as to divide, that is distinguish what is spiritual and heavenly from what is fleshly and earthly.
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart: Able to judge the purposes of one’s thoughts. It is in the heart we have intents, ideas, concepts and motives that eventually result in actions that may be godly or ungodly. Hence, these things are known and distinguishable by God even before they become real to us.
Verse 12: From this verse 12, we are informed of some of the character traits of the word of God and a glimpse of its ability. That is, the word of God is quick (living), powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword (sharper than anything known to man).
It pierces through whatsoever it encounters, dividing and separating with precision even the most intricately united entities. The word of God is a discerner (detects and reveals or exposes) even the most secrete intensions and deepest thoughts of the heart of the creature.
This verse alone ought to make the genuine believer in Christ to pause and reflect on his attitude towards God and his fellow human beings.
But then follows verse 13:
“13Neither 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.”
Neither is there any creature: Both the visible and invisible, the known and unknown to man. Mankind knows very little about God’s creation, and even very, very and very little about God Himself! God created all without exception and all are therefore known to Him.
that is not manifest in his sight: The sight of God is all encompassing. He knows all things, is able to do all things, and is everywhere.
but all things are naked and opened: Every creature of God including all human beings are continuously before and are seen by Him all the time, and as they really are and not as they pretend or want to be known. No one of His creatures is able to successfully hide from God. God knows every piece of His creation intimately.
Psalm 139 gives us a snap short of such depth of knowledge that God has of humans.
unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do: God’s eyes are all-seeing and are always open. All His creatures have to deal or relate to Him. All of us have to relate to God. It is just a question of whether that relationship will be in obedience or in rebellion, whether for blessing or for punishment.
Heb. 4:12-13 conclude this section of Hebrews 3:7-4:13. And this concluding section is an intensification of the warning given in verse 11. That no one should fall like they did, because of unbelief.
Warning believers in Christ not to fall because of unbelief might sound preposterous to a church goer who claims to be a Christian already. But be careful, for that attitude might be because of latent pride. Rather than being self-assured because of your church activities, the humble thing to do is what Scripture counsels:
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor 13:5).
This is the time of grace when you can amend your ways.
Thus, this intensification of warning is to ensure that the seriousness of that warning is understood and that necessary actions needed to avoid the fate of the unbelieving Israelites are avoided.
It was the word of God that was preached to the Israelites as well as New Testament believers. It was of no benefit to those amongst those who heard it in the Old Testament but who did not believe (Heb. 4:2).
Hence again we see the two edges of the sword of the Spirit in action:
- One edge convicts and converts as here (Heb. 4:2), and the other edge condemns and destroys those who do not believe (Heb. 4:14; 10:23).
- The same word of God (sword of the Spirit) that saves the faithful believer (Heb. 4:2), destroys the unbeliever or the disobedient (2Cor 2:15-16).
Hence here, the reference is not to Christ as the Word, but as the word (the word) that Christ has and wields. This is why Joshua who took over the leadership of Israel from Moses is spoken of within the passage (Heb. 4:8 cf. Acts 7:45).
Do you understand? Or are you still asking, “Why should I be honest with God?”
Here are three reasons you should be honest with God:
- The word of God is powerfully effective (Heb. 4:12):
It does whatever God sends it to do (Isa 55:11). When used by the children of God, it is equally effective in comforting believers, as well as working against the ungodly. And we are told,
“16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be perfect” (2Tim 3:16-17).
- Everything is open to and exposed by God (Heb. 4:13, cf. 2Chr 16:9; Job 26:6; Ps 33:13-14; and Ps 139:4, 11-12). Even then man tries to hide from God.
Because of sin. Sin results in pretention, which is a futile attempt to cover up, so we would not be found out. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God by trying to get lost amongst the tree leaves. It was a futile attempt at pretending to be alright when they were not. And since then, human beings have continued to pretend.
But no matter the subterfuge, God would eventually expose sin. Since He made man, God knows how and when to remove any, and all the masks of pretention man might have put in place. Hence, we are informed that, the Lord,
“both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.” (1Cor 4:5).
From this passage then, we see that the instrument with which God will carry out His divine exposure is His living and active word (Heb. 4:12).
- The examination will be carried out by God Himself (Heb. 4:13):
So, there will be no miscarriage of justice. We live in a world and era in which numerous people are running away from responsibility. They are doing all they can to not be held accountable. And so, choose not to believe in a God “to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13).
But whether man likes it or not, the God of Holy Scripture is the righteous judge of all His creation. He judges all His creatures.
Though He is love and loving (1John 4:8, 16), and it is this aspect of God that most people trumpet on. They seem to forget, ignore or are ignorant of the truth of the severity of God (Rom 11:22) as recorded in numerous instances on the pages of Holy Scripture. And we are warned that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31). There is goodness and severity of God (Rom 11:22). It is for our good to bear both aspects of God in mind without attempting to create artificial disharmony between them.
- God judged His creation on earth with the destroying flood (Gen 6:11-7:24).
- He judged Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities (Gen 19).
- Though Christ is the good shepherd who “giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, John 10:15),
- He is the one who will, “sever the wicked from among the just” (Mat 13:49), as well as separate “his sheep from the goats.” (Mat 25:32).
- The heart is scrupulously examined by God.
- This is because the heart of man is the seat of human will and intellect.
- It is where all crucial ideas, concepts and decisions are made.
- It is the place God demands to be the sovereign ruler.
- It is also the place man is capable of such high degree of pretence and subterfuge, that his heart would not always match his habits.
- Human exposure
- Though in ordinary life, when a person is exposed to be a fraud, it can be painful, embarrassing and lead to judicial penalty, all of these are temporal.
- Divine exposure
- But when God comes forth and removes every mask of pretence behind which a person hides, it enables such a one to present his true self as already known by God, even unto that God.
- He comes to God as he is truly known to God.
- In contrast to human exposure, exposure by God will even be more painful.
- But the good thing about exposure by God is that it can lead to redemption and the gift of eternal life.
- It is thus of eternal value.
- Hence, the first step towards your forgiveness and redemption by God is the honest admission of the problem, that is your sinful state, and need to repent.
- Do it now!
- For sooner or later you will be exposed, and it may be too late then to avoid condemnation with the wicked.
There is nothing that can escape the attention of God, and God as He has done in the past, will judge unbelief wherever and with whomever He finds it.
- The word of God is powerfully effective (Heb. 4:12)
- Everything is open to, can be, and will be exposed by God (Heb. 4:13).
- The examination will be carried out by God Himself (Heb. 4:13).
God will find you out! So, determine that from now, you will be honest with God in your life
One crucial question to ask you
However, there is still one crucial question to ask you who is reading this piece:
“Are you born again?”
Put another way,
“Have you made peace with God through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ?”
Those God considers His own are those who have put their trust or faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
- Essentially, they believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who came, not to teach us how to live a good life, but that He came to die for our sins, and the sins of the whole world.
- That Christ came physically into the world through the virgin birth, lived a sinless life, though He was tested in all points like any man, but He did not sin,
- He was falsely accused with trump up charges, denied justice, beaten and scorched, and nailed to the cross on Calvary.
- Christ was crucified, He died on the cross and was buried, He rose again from the dead on the third day.
- After His resurrection, Christ showed Himself to and taught His disciples over a period of forty days,
- and in plain sight of them ascended into heaven, where He is now at the right side of God.
- As He rose to heaven, Christ reminded His disciples what He had told them repeatedly, That He is coming the second time in power and glory.
These are those described as being born-again or saved.
Again, I ask the crucial question, “Are you a born-again child of the Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ being your Saviour and Lord?”
If you are not please, make amend now. The bible says,
“8 …The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:8-13).
I pray that as you pray, seek His face, the living God will grant you repentance unto salvation in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.