God’s Word, Hebrews 4:12 tells us, is sharp and true. It cannot fail to penetrate to the core of our being and accomplish the job that the Lord has for it. It is powerful and active, “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The Word of God does this, of course, because it is the message of the omniscient (all-knowing), omnibenevolent (all-good), and omnipotent (all-powerful) Creator. Today’s passage emphasizes this truth, particularly the truth of God’s omniscience, by referring to the fact that “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (v. 13). Try as we might to escape the Lord’s holy gaze, there is nowhere that we can hide from our Maker. The darkness cannot conceal us. We cannot ever go high enough or low enough to evade God’s judgment (Ps. 139:7–12). No matter how hard we might try to avoid the Lord, His knowledge of us is sure and true.
It is easy for us to forget this truth. So often, we are content to go about our business and not remember that God sees everything that we do, feel, and think. That is one of the reasons we fall into sin, is it not? After all, if we were to remain conscious that the perfectly holy Judge takes into account everything that we do, feel, and think, we might be less inclined to transgress His law or to fail to observe it. If we were to keep the reality of His judgment before us, we might not treat His Word so flippantly by failing to obey it.
We do not often tremble in awe before God’s Word, but the one who trembles at this Word God will look upon with favor (Isa. 66:2). The proper response to hearing the words of the Lord is to quake with awe at His holiness and goodness. That, in fact, is how the author of Hebrews expects us to respond to the warning he gives in 3:7–4:13. He has just delivered a message from God’s Word, reminding us of the severity of judgment against all who reject His message. That message is Jesus Christ Himself as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. Rejecting Him in favor of anything else, even the (good but now outdated and fulfilled) old covenant system, is to fail to treat God and His Word with the awe that it deserves. It is to open ourselves up to the sword of divine judgment. We are dealing here not with trivial matters but with the most consequential issues that we will ever face. We must remain in faith, continuing to trust in Christ.