|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part 6 of a series. Read part 5.
Sinful man's judgments are subjective and thus deeply flawed. But Scripture is the supernatural, objective, flawless critic of man's beliefs and motives.
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
As we continue our study of the supernatural character of Scripture, we next focus upon the fact that the Word of God is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." The word that is translated "discerner" in this verse is the Greek kritikos, from which we derive our English word critic.
Human Critics vs. the Divine Critic
When we think of someone as a critic, we usually have in mind one of two things. On the one hand, we often say that someone is a critic when that person is nothing but a naysayer, a person who always has an unfavorable opinion of people or things.
On the other hand, when we speak of a critic we may be talking about someone who is a professional critic - an art critic, or a music critic, a film critic, or a literary critic - someone who does this for a living, for a newspaper, magazine, television, radio, or a website.
But in either case, what is the standard of criticism? For the naysayer or the professional critic, the standard is that person's opinion. He does not like this or that. He does like something else. The standard is subjective, not objective. In the case of the professional critic, another critic may have an entirely different opinion of the same book or musical performance.
In what sense is the Word of God a critic? The meaning in the original language of the book of Hebrews is far different and far deeper than subjective criticism on a human level. The word in the original speaks of the fact that the Word of God is that which is fit for use in making a judgment.
In other words, the Word of God is the objective standard of judgment. We are dealing with matters of spiritual life and death - eternity in the New Heavens and New Earth or eternity in Hell. It is not a matter of your opinion, my opinion or any other human opinion. It is a matter of God's absolutely perfect and unchanging standard of holiness. It is a matter of God's truth revealed in His living and powerful Word. It is a matter of light versus darkness. The only supernatural Book is also the supernatural critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word Of God Is a Judge of Men's Motives
The significance of the original language is that the Word of God judges man's feelings. The Word of God judges man's purposes. It judges the heart. And what does Scripture mean in Hebrews 4:12 when it speaks of "the heart"? It speaks of two things.
It speaks, first of all, of human depravity. In Mark chapter 7, Jesus spoke of the heart of man in this way:
What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. (Mark 7:20-23)
Human philosophy says that we are products of our environment. But Scripture says otherwise. It is not your environment that makes you what you are. It is your heart. It is your sin nature.
Jeremiah 17:8 declares that "the heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Who can understand it? Who can perceive, and see and find out and discern, what is within the heart of man? The Word of God can.
The Heart - The Seat of Belief or Unbelief
When Scripture speaks of the heart, it speaks of the fact that whatever an individual may appear to be on the outside, it is the hidden man, the inner life, that really matters in the eyes of God. Apart from faith in Christ, the inner man loves darkness and hates light, because unregenerated man's deeds are evil. That is what Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3:
He who believes in Him [the Son of God] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:18-21)
And so, the Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of man's depraved heart. But "the heart" in Hebrews 4:12 also speaks of the place in which God exerts His influence. And it speaks of the fact that God exerts His influence through His living and powerful Word.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10)
Next: The Word of God and the God of the Word
All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced in its entirety only,
for non-commercial purposes, provided that this copyright notice is included.
We also suggest that you include a direct hyperlink to this article
for the convenience of your readers.