The Power of the Word


Word alive


Written by ANDRÉE SEU

December 8, 2011, 8:12 AM

In the Middle Ages there was a Roman Catholic teaching known as ex opere operato. It meant, among other things, that it didn’t matter if the priest who administered Holy Communion to you had a girlfriend in every port; the sacrament was still efficacious for imparting grace because of Christ’s power in it.

I was reminded of that historical trivia when reading Philippians 1:15-18:

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. Some do it out of love. … The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

Interesting. Even from the lips of people who hate Paul and are happy that he’s locked up, the Word of God is efficacious for changing lives (as long as it’s the real gospel and not a distortion of it, as is the case in Galatians (1:6-8).

That tells me there is something fearfully mysterious and wonderful about the Word of God. It tells me God’s Word is like a snorting racehorse itching to bolt out of the stall; it will use any gate. It tells me God’s Word is brimming and active and living and sharper than a sword. It tells me God backs up His own Word with so much power that it operates on its own in spite of the unworthiness of the vessel.

That should actually cheer you up a little bit. If you have been holding back on mentioning God to the Iranian cashier at the 7-Eleven because you’re so unworthy, just remember that the Word of Truth has power all on its own. You can’t mess up that badly. Just open your mouth with any old half decent gospel appeal, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Another weird thing about a Word of God exhaled into the ether is that it never returns empty (Isaiah 55:11). It always does something, though you can’t see it.

One of my close friends got saved reading a Bible verse on a billboard. It was a heavenly trap door waiting in ambush for her.