Daily Reformation, Romans 11:30-12:2
From the Reformer
…the Apostle’s object was to teach us what the word is to us. The sword is a metaphorical word often used in Scripture; but the Apostle not content with a simple comparison, says, that God’s word is sharper than any sword, even than a sword that cuts on both sides, or two-edged; for at that time swords were in common use, which were blunt on one side, and sharp on the other. Piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, or to the dividing of the soul and spirit, etc. The word soul means often the same with spirit; but when they occur together, the first includes all the affections, and the second means what they call the intellectual faculty. So Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, uses the words, when he prays God to keep their spirit, and soul, and body blameless until the coming of Christ (1Th 5:23), he meant no other thing, but that they might continue pure and chaste in mind, and will, and outward actions.
—John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews (4:12)
Pulling It Together
God desires good companionship and he desires it with his creation. That his creation chooses to be bad, presents a quandary as to whether God will get what he desires. God is persistent, however, and does get what he wants by offering his disobedient creatures mercy. His mercy comes with a price—the death of his Son and your “death” as well. Your death is by the sword—a sword sharper than any other, that pierces you to the depths of your being. (Heb 4:12) It cuts you so deep, so surgically, that you are altogether healed, transformed into the kind of creature God intended all along. That transforming sword has two edges: a living, spiritual edge and a mental edge. The Spirit of Jesus, the Living Word pares you with this pass and his written word carves you with the next. By this sword we become living sacrifices of a pure religion that requires these kind cuts of God to refine you, making you a fit friend here and a companion for eternity.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers