The Power of the Word

The Power of the Word

There is a popular hymn which has the title, “There is Power in the Blood.” While that is true, I would also like to maintain that, “There is Power in the Word.”

The Word of God is powerful, and I think that sometimes we in the Church forget that. The Apostle Paul reminded his protégé Timothy that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of Godmay be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Furthermore, this same Word of God kills and makes alive (1 Sam. 2:6) and is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Law of God condemns the sinner, while the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves the sinner. It is this reality that governs the faith and life of believers in this same Jesus Christ.

All too often we hear the contrary voices of the naysayers, both within the Church and without, who deny the power of God’s Word to save and to change lives. In my years of pastoral ministry, I have seen many counseling fads come and go, but there is nothing that compares to the transformative power of God’s Word when it is applied to the life and circumstances of an individual. For example, consider the issue of conflict in the Church. Many times conflicts persist when a person says, “I’m right and you’re wrong;” however, when we hear such passages as Romans 3:23 (“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” among others), we come to the understanding that we all contribute to the problem in some way and that our only deliverance comes in confessing our sin before the Lord and to each other and relying on the forgiveness and pardon that only Jesus offers.

One of the most comforting passages that sustained me in my ministry comes from Isaiah 55:10-11: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heavenand do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”We who labor in the vineyard sometimes wonder what kind of progress we are making: the fruits of our labor may remain unseen for many years, if ever.

 

Nevertheless, it is impossible for human beings to measure the progress of God’s Word in the human heart. Usually we are engaged in planting seeds of the Gospel that may take many years before it takes hold and bears fruit in a person or a place.

Now that we are in the Season of Advent and await the joy of Christmas, we behold the wonder that God’s Word became Incarnate in the living Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (John 1:14): in Him, God’s living and powerful Word became enfleshed in the Babe of Bethlehem who is our salvation. In good times and difficult times, let us continue to rely on God’s living, powerful Incarnate Word Jesus, who continues to uphold us and save us.

Pastor Ben Eder

Pilgrim Lutheran Church

Kenmore, NY

First Vice President of the English District